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Magpie Lane

Narrated by: Susie Riddell
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers. 

As Dee looks back over her time in the Master's Lodging - an eerie and ancient house - a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother. 

But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent? 

Roaming Oxford's secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family - and what it is to be denied one. 

©2020 Lucy Atkins (P)2020 Quercus Editions Limited

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Wonder marvellous wonderful

This is my favourite book so far and I’d never heard of Lucy Atkins. She is a terrific mystery writer the characters so warm but angular. The only bit I hate is the last 5 minutes. I am blissfully lost in this story and characters.

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  • Diane Carrington
  • 03-05-2020

Disappointed

What a cop out ending! Let the reader make their own minds up - v disappointing

3 people found this helpful

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  • V. O'Regan
  • 04-04-2020

Excellent atmospheric tale

This was a highly atmospheric novel that was well suited to the audiobook adaptation given its format of an internal dialogue by its lead. The name given to Dee by the Daily Mail was totally on point

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel Redford
  • 02-05-2020

Really fresh and original

Categorising this book as a thriller , or even a crime novel, does it a great dis-service. There are certainly some intriguing mysteries, but above all it's a story of the healing power of love. I loved it.

The setting is in the house of an Oxford College Master, with its sinister priest's hole and prized William Morris wallpaper, where Dee, rootless in Oxford and far from her Scottish home, is looking after Felicity, the 8 year-old daughter of the authoritarian Master who lives with his blonde, pregnant Danish second wife, Mariah, who fails utterly to understand Felicity. They are hopelessly negligent parents to Felicity who, traumatised by the death of her mother (more of that mystery ensues), has been an elective mute for the last 4 years.

The gradual trust, love and finally speech between Dee and Felicity is endearingly developed, as is the growing relationship between Dee and Mr Linklater, the local historian who is researching the past of the Master's rambling house. Crimes have been and are committed. How did Felicity's mother die if not from cancer as her husband claimed? What happened to Dee's baby girl? Answers to similar questions are drip fed seamlessly and unshockingly into the narrative, merging with the crimes committed in previous centuries in the Master's secret-holding old house. We're constantly being pressed to question crime and punishment.

Right at the beginning Felicity has gone missing and the story weaves backwards and forwards, taking in the police investigation. It's not until the Epilogue when we're rooting for the 'crime' to go unpunished that the mystery if Felicity's disappearance is solved.

I liked the narration: Dee's Scots accent and Mariah's Danish, which becomes slightly more manic as her life disintegrates, are well done. Unusual and absorbing!

2 people found this helpful

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  • SandraL
  • 05-05-2020

Fabulous - one of my favourite books this year

This is my first book by Lucy Atkins and is one of my favourite listens so far this year.

It's the story of the disappearance of a young girl, told by her nanny in flashbacks during police interviews. The writing is brilliant. The cast of characters is fascinating - the maths obsessed nanny, the selectively mute girl, the arrogant College Master, the pregnant Danish stepmother, the wonderfully eccentric House Detective, and there's even a cat called Fibonacci. The setting of Oxford is described beautifully, and the house is creepy and has a priests hole.

To top all this, the narration by Susie Riddell was superb! I will definitely be listening to more by this author. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sherry-lyn
  • 28-04-2020

Disappointing

I enjoyed this book at the beginning but the end was really predictable, felt cheated

1 person found this helpful

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  • mollyeyre
  • 19-04-2020

Really enjoyed this

I was so involved in this story that I felt very stressed at certain points!

This was so well written, I certainly got to know the characters of those involved, a brilliant story well written and well narrated! I did actually guess the ending, but it was no less enjoyable for all that.

There were quite a few fine nuances throughout the book, things that one could surmise, but with no proof one didn't go there, so there was a bit of 'did she? or didn't she?' about several things in the history of the characters, but it was OK to just pass over and get on with the current tale. Very tense in places. I'm off to look for more by this writer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bear G
  • 29-05-2020

good listen

It was a good listen. wasn't mad about the ending. the spooky bit wasn't really developed much. But overall i enjoyed it

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  • R. Ash
  • 23-05-2020

Brilliant read

This combined so many great elements - gothic atmosphere, history of Oxford and a lot of general creepiness. The story was great and the narration superb. I could see where it was going but it still kept me hooked.
I also wavered so much between sympathy and annoyance with some of the characters. And then ending, as mentioned, was on a sort of cliffhanger but I so much wanted 'them' to get away with it.

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  • Mr Chops
  • 18-05-2020

Good but not quite

Atmospheric tale, superb voice acting, interesting characters, plot and locations. A couple of reviewers complained about the ending - I disagree, the reader discovers whodunnit, how and why so not sure what they were referring to. My only criticism is that I find the ouse of literary devices to build tension by having characters avoid asking the obvious question that most people would eventually ask, very annoying. The plot didn’t move fast enough for me and I skipped chapters. I will try another by Lucy Atkins and definitely by Susie Riddell

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-2020

Brilliant

Slightly slow start but i had to remind myself to breathe for the last few chapters. Absolutely compelling.