Tuesday 27 November 2018

Review ~ The Magpie Tree by Katherine Stansfield

Allison & Busby

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Jamaica Inn, 1844: the talk is of witches. A boy has vanished in the woods of Trethevy on the North Cornish coast, and a reward is offered for his return. Shilly has had enough of such dark doings, but her new companion, the woman who calls herself Anna Drake, insists they investigate. Anna wants to open a detective agency, and the reward would fund it. They soon learn of a mysterious pair of strangers who have likely taken the boy, and of Saint Nectan who, legend has it, kept safe the people of the woods. As Shilly and Anna seek the missing child, the case takes another turn - murder. Something is stirring in the woods and old sins have come home to roost

My thoughts about it..

Sometimes books stay on my book shelves for far too long and such is the case with The Magpie Tree, which continues on from Falling Creatures, the first book in the Cornish Mysteries series.

The Magpie Tree is again set against the atmospheric background of Victorian Cornwall and continues the theme of mystery and adventure. In this latest adventure, Shilly and her new companion, Anna Drake investigate the mystery of a missing child who has seemingly  vanished in the woods of Trethevy. What the follows is a dark and brooding Cornish mystery, filled with all the atmospheric gloominess of a true Victorian melodrama.

I found much to enjoy in this atmospheric Victorian mystery. There is more than a nod towards the Cornwall of Daphne du Maurier and on many occasions I was reminded of the darkness of Jamaica Inn, there's that same sense of brooding loneliness which is so reminiscent of this time.

The Magpie Tree certainly continues this series in fine style and I look forward to seeing what's coming next in the Cornish Mysteries series.

About the Author

Katherine Stansfield is a novelist and poet. She grew up on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall - a place that inspires much of her writing. She moved to Wales to study at Aberystwyth University, and stayed there for quite some time, studying and then working as a lecturer, before moving to Cardiff.

Her latest book is The Magpie Tree, second in the Cornish Mysteries crime series published by Allison & Busby.


  1. I really liked this too, even though I hadn't read the first book in the series (I have that on my wishlist).

    1. Thanks, Cathy. I can recommend the first book too !


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