Published by Quercus


‘Standout’ Guardian BEST BOOKS OF 2020

‘For pure enjoyment it’s hard to beat’  TELEGRAPHBOOKS OF THE YEAR 2020′

‘A tender, creepy and gripping tale’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Tense, perceptive and meticulously plotted – an intelligent exploration of privilege, belonging, grief and parental responsibility’ OBSERVER

‘Spellbinding and spooky. . . superbly absorbing’ SUNDAY MIRROR

‘Graceful writing, sharply observed characters . . . wonderfully atmospheric’ GUARDIAN

‘A rare thing . . . Simply stunning’ DAILY EXPRESS

‘Grown-up and cleverly written . . .a dizzying sense of uncertainty’ LITERARY REVIEW

‘Excellent . . . hard to put down’  DAILY MAIL

‘It’s been a while since I’ve been as sucked in by a thriller as I was with this one’  GOOD HOUSEKEEPING ‘BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2020’

‘Dramatically delves into what it means to be family and how terrible this bond can be’ WOMAN & HOME

‘It is a long time since I have enjoyed a book as thoroughly as I enjoyed Magpie Lane, which reminded me variously of Iris Murdoch, Ruth Rendell, Donna Tartt and Daphne du Maurier. It was an utter joy to relish Atkins’s wonderfully skilled and unobtrustive writing’ Sarah Perry

‘Deliciously dark – keeps flipping your certainties on their head from start to finish’ Alexandra Shulman 

‘A sinewy, supple and gorgeously satisfying triumph’ Lucy Mangan

‘Full of hidden chambers, and some of them are haunted . . .Part thriller, part love story, wholly beguiling’  Mick Herron

‘I’d lost my reading mojo when I started Magpie Lane but I was gripped virtually straight away. . . pleasurably bamboozled, moved and caught up in a highly original story’ Alex Clark

‘One of the most intriguing narrators since Notes on a Scandal – I loved it!’ Sarah Collins

‘Gripping. . . beautifully written’ Polly Samson

‘Clever and Creepy, twisty yet tender. Magpie Lane will have you hearing footsteps overhead in an empty house. I loved it’ Erin Kelly

‘Clever, tense and as twisty as an Oxford back street’ Amanda Craig

‘Dazzlingly good’ Diane Setterfield 

‘That rare thing: a thriller that warms your heart even as it chills your spine. I adored it on so many levels – the page-turning tension, the emotional depth of the central relationship. Simply brilliant! JP Delaney



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.


 ‘Spellbindingly brilliant. Lucy Atkins is an extraordinary writer; I shall be thinking about this story for a long time. A contender for my Book of the Year’

Sarah Hilary