Recommended by the Reviewers Club

Magpie Lane, by Lucy Atkins

Cover of Magpie Lane, by Lucy Atkins.

Recommended to me by a friend in the UK, this is a mesmerising portrait of the City of Oxford and the history and traditions of its ancient university. The story of the sudden disappearance of 8-year-old Felicity, daughter of one of Oxford College Master’s, is related by Dee, the child’s nanny who is the chief suspect in the case.

The writing is both tense and perceptive, and the offbeat and eccentric characters are brilliantly observed in stark contrast to the privileged intellectual classes who inhabit the ‘city of gleaming spies.’ This is a domestic noir novel, and the pace is tense and dramatic and although the characters on the whole are not sympathetic, as past traumas are revealed to the reader, we gain a greater understanding of the limitations of family and the lifelong pain that can be afflicted.

4.2/5 Stars