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The Rhyme of the Magpie (Birds of a Feather Mystery Series #1)

The Rhyme of the Magpie (Birds of a Feather Mystery Series #1)

4.0 11
by Marty Wingate

For readers of M. C. Beaton or Susan Wittig Albert, the high-flying new Birds of a Feather mystery series from bestselling author Marty Wingate begins as a British woman gets caught up in a dangerous plot when her celebrity father disappears.
With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her


For readers of M. C. Beaton or Susan Wittig Albert, the high-flying new Birds of a Feather mystery series from bestselling author Marty Wingate begins as a British woman gets caught up in a dangerous plot when her celebrity father disappears.
With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her job on her father’s hit BBC Two nature show, A Bird in the Hand. Accepting a tourist management position in Smeaton-under-Lyme, a quaint village in the English countryside, Julia throws herself into her new life, delighting sightseers (and a local member of the gentry) with tales of ancient Romans and pillaging Vikings.
But the past is front and center when her father, Rupert, tracks her down in a moment of desperation. Julia refuses to hear him out; his quick remarriage after her mother’s death was one of the reasons Julia flew the coop. But later she gets a distressed call from her new stepmum: Rupert has gone missing. Julia decides to investigate—she owes him that much, at least—and her father’s new assistant, the infuriatingly dapper Michael Sedgwick, offers to help. Little does the unlikely pair realize that awaiting them is a tightly woven nest of lies and murder.

Praise for Marty Wingate and The Rhyme of the Magpie
“Marty Wingate’s Birds of a Feather mysteries provide a perfect blend of quirky characters and atmosphere. These solid traditional cozies deliver a fabulous setting, lots of birding, intriguing bird lore, and complex whodunits with contemporary themes. Add the marvelous mysteries of this wonderful series to your life list.”—Christine Goff, bestselling author of the Birdwatcher’s Mystery series

“Marty Wingate plants clever clues with a dash of romantic spice to satisfy any hungry mystery reader.”—Mary Daheim, bestselling author of The Alpine Yeoman
“Put the kettle on and settle into a well-crafted village mystery with a delightful new sleuth.”—Connie Archer, bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave
“Marty Wingate might just be the new Queen of the Cozy, but her cozy mysteries are deceptive in that they balance quaint village life with strong female characters who achieve self-significance while still maintaining femininity. Long may she reign.”—Bibliotica
“Wingate has once again written a superb cozy mystery filled with suspense, red herrings, danger, romance, and magpies. . . . The Rhyme of the Magpie is a must-read for fans of Wingate’s novels and fans of cozy mysteries. You will love this book!”—A Bookish Way of Life
“Great characters, picturesque location, and a mystery to solve.  With those three ingredients, you can’t be disappointed.”—Mystery Playground
“Marty Wingate is winging (sorry, couldn’t resist a little bird humor) her way onto my list of favorite authors and I eagerly await the next installment of this series!”—Back Porchervations
“A great curl-up-with-a-cuppa book, and a fun start to a new series.”—Kahakai Kitchen
The Rhyme of the Magpie is a real treat, and Julia Lanchester is a lovely, lively and intelligent heroine on the cusp of a lot of changes in her personal and professional life. The setting is charming, and the mystery is definitely chilling.”—Reading Reality 

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Birds of a Feather Mystery Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
2 MB

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Meet the Author

Marty Wingate is the USA Today bestselling author of The Garden Plot and The Red Book of Primrose House, and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Birds of a Feather mysteries are planned.

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The Rhyme of the Magpie 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Using the traditional Magpie rhyme - with a twist - Marty Wingate deftly builds a story of selfishness,  crime and unexpected romance. Add a range of rural characters, humour and intrigue and this is a really  enjoyable read from the very beginning to the surprising end.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
This is a classic British mystery.  The right characters, intrigue, unknown evil-doers, etc. I enjoyed it very much. Rich characterization. Uncertain situations. Who is OK and who is lying? and a satisfying solution. It's well done and well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Then The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate is for you. Well written and plotted, the heroes are sympathetic and appealing and the villains suitably pathetic and dastardly. Until her father's quick marriage to her deceased mother's best friend, Julia Lanchester's life had been full and comfortable as her famous celebrity scientist father's personal assistant. Now working in a small village as the manager of its tourism office, she's enjoying the challenge of her new job and living in a village. She won't talk with her father who wants her to go back. When a spokesman for the wind farm company that wants to build a wind farm near a bird sanctuary is found murdered and her father disappears, Julia regrets refusing to talk with him. This begins a series of events that leads to some surprising revelations and a new beginning. Scientists, rare birds, magpies, a new romance, kidnappings, and intrigue, what's not to like?
ArizonaJo More than 1 year ago
The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate is the first in her new series. I really enjoyed this book and will be looking forward to more in this series. As a fan of her Potting Shed mystery series, I was excited to find this book. Julia Lanchester is a very down-to-earth woman but can be very stubborn and a little rash when her emotions are running high. Her father, Rupert, is a TV personality and ornithologist. She was his assistant before he remarried after her mother's death. This caused a rift between them because Julia, in her grief, could not accept this situation. She now lives in a small village and has become the manager of a Tourist Information Center in Smeaton-under-Lyme. She really does enjoy the new job and her little cottage and is beginning to feel very comfortable and at home. She meets her replacement when her father goes missing, Michael Sedgewick, because he contacts her to see if she can help find her father. There was definite chemistry between them from the beginning. Michael is a very likable and interesting character with some secrets that Julia comes to find out as the story goes along. While looking for her father they find a dead body and the hunt begins, not only for her father but for a murderer. The countryside details are so clear that I could see the landscape as I read. The plot moved along smoothly and steadily. The secondary characters were clearly drawn and were integral to the murder mystery. I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley and the publisher, Alibi, in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because of remarriage is awkward and while all the english village mystery themes are intact it does not really take off. None of the characters seem to jell sorta bounching off each other. Perhaps too much heroine dont think i will continue in series except from library FPL
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
It started as a simple rhyme for children learning to count. Over the years, it seemed to be almost a guide to omens, depending on how many magpies in their “black-and-white court jester outfits” one might see at one time. For example, Julia Lanchester just knew her sister Bianca was pregnant again and would have a little boy because of the number of magpies seen that day. Now, however, the stakes were too high – Julia’s father had gone missing and left first one, then another message about the rhyme. It had been less than 6 months after Julia’s beloved mother Anne’s passing when her father wed her mother’s best friend, Beryl. Furious with what seemed a betrayal of her mother’s memory, she refused to visit them. She had moved out of the house that had been home most of her life to get away from this betrayal and stopped working for her father, Rupert, as the associate producer for his nature program, A Bird in the Hand, on BBC. Julia had found a job in a completely new line of work for Lord Linus Fotheringill as the Tourist Information Manager; she also lived in the tiny Pipit Cottage on the Fotheringill estate in Smeaton-under-Lyme, Suffolk, England. Many areas in Suffolk house breeding grounds for rare birds; Power to the People was a huge PR firm acting on behalf of the company trying to push through approval of a wind farm that would destroy the protected site of the stone curlews. Rupert Lanchester, Ornithologist was very much against any developments that would destroy areas where rare birds lived or bred, and he was working against the wind farm. During the heat of the controversy, Rupert goes missing, leaving a partial text behind for Julia and a brief note for his bride. Julia meets her father’s new associate producer, Michael Sedgwick, and they help each other reason out where Rupert might be while Michael learns more about the program and his new position from her. They go to check out Marshy End, the old family cottage often used as a holiday getaway or Rupert’s place to work out challenges for his work. That’s where they found the body of the spokesman for Power to the People, a man with whom Julia’s father had previously had very public arguments. And it was clear that the man did not die of natural causes. They had to find Rupert soon while they also wanted to prove his innocence… Marty Wingate, author of the Potting Shed Mysteries, is also the author of The Rhyme of the Magpie, first in the “A Birds of a Feather” series. As an ‘armchair’ bird watcher, the name of this new series captivated me. Julia is, of course, my favorite person so far in this series. A serious, intelligent, and logical woman, she is the kind of woman that will succeed in almost any business endeavor she sets her mind on. Her creative talent is put to good use as a Tourist Information Manager. This combination of creativity and logic, as well as love for her father, is what she desperately needs to find him. Julia also has good insight into people, and is trying to understand Michael. She sees his lack of background, a mystery man who comes off sounding caring and sincere, while the facts don’t quite line up. The cover art is gorgeous, colorful and attractive, reflecting the story itself. The plot is multi-layered and brought through to fruition completely and with excellence. It is satisfying to read a mystery for which there may be more than one suspect, a variety of plot twists, and a solution that keeps this reader guessing to the very end. Cozy readers looking for humor might be disappointed in this story, but bird enthusiasts and those who like their cozies to be filled with information on whatever the subject is will appreciate it. This novel is rich in descriptives of both the aged estate and the lands where various rare birds with a female sleuth who is intelligent and intuitive. I highly recommend this mystery to fans of Marty Wingate, English cozy mysteries, and challenging plots; it is the kind of tale that we who love cozy mysteries will stay up until all hours to read. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how the series progresses! With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
BarbaraLyn More than 1 year ago
I usually have trouble reading a book that is based in England or has an England base Language. This was not the case with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the “England English” and even understood the words the author used. What I mean is I understand pram is a baby carriage for example. The English phrases were all ones I “got”. Anyway, the book is about a gal who leaves the employment of her father and moves to another town. She begins work as tourist manager for one of the local gentry. She is trying to distance herself from her father who has six months after her mother’s death. She is even more upset because the new wife was her mother’s best friend. Her father comes to see her but they don’t end the visit on a happy note. The next thing she knows is her father goes missing. Her father’s new assistant, Michael Sedgwick, offers to help her figure out what or who was the reason for his disappearance. Thus begins a story interwoven with lies and murder. The story, in my opinion, started out slowly but once I got past the first couple of chapters, I was very glad to be reading the story. The characters were very life-like and not stilted or unreal. I could picture the English village and see the campground and landscape described in the book. If you like a book to make you try to figure out “who dun it” before the author tells you, then you will not be disappointed in this book. Get a copy, find a comfortable chair and have a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeresaKander More than 1 year ago
The first book in a new series by this author, and the first book I've read by her. I look forward to more in this series for sure. This is a fast paced, active story that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. The main character, Julia, has issues with her father which have put a wedge between them, but she puts those on the back burner when she discovers he is missing--and finds herself working through them, realizing the error of her ways, as the story progresses. I enjoyed the bird-watching information provided throughout the story, particularly as I hadn't heard of some of the birds included. Of course, there is the requisite murder to be solved, which Julia manages to do with the assistance of a new man in her life, Michael. **I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**
TheAvidReader_KA More than 1 year ago
The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate is a British cozy mystery and the first book in the Birds of a Feather Mystery series. Julia Lanchester has started a new job and moved into Pipit Cottage in Smeaton-under-Lyme. After her mother passed away, her father remarried her mother’s best friend, Beryl (just six months after mother’s death). Instead of talking with her father, Julia took off. Julia used to work with her father, Rupert Lanchester as his assistant and associate producer. Rupert is an ornithologist and produces a show on BBC2 called A Bird in the Hand. Julia is living in Smeaton-under-Lyme (they have the most unusual named cities in the U.K.) and working as Tourist information Manager for Earl Fotheringill (along with his estate he owns the village and surrounding areas). Julia has not spoken to her father since he announced he was getting married. Julia only told her sister, Bianca (Bee) where she is now living along with her phone number. One day Rupert shows up to speak with Julia. Unfortunately, Julia throws him out of her cottage without speaking with him. Later that day she receives a call from Beryl stating her father is missing. His car is in the shop (being repaired) so she does not know how he could have gone away. There is no note and his cell phone is still at home. Julia goes to see Beryl to help calm her down and discovers her car is gone from the garage where she had it stored. Julia does not take the time to report the theft, but borrows a car from friend and co-workers, Vesta. Beryl also called Rupert’s new assistant, Michael Sedgwick. When Rupert does not turn up the next day, Michael and Julia set out to investigate. The first check a cottage (Marshy End) that the family owns. Following a magpie Julia stumbles across a dead body near the cottage. Kenneth Kersey is dead. Kenneth was the Director for Power to the People. A company sets up wind farms. Rupert was adamantly opposed to the wind farms new site (would upset the bird in the area). The police would like to speak with Rupert about the death, but he cannot be found (though he was at the cottage within the last day). Who killed Kenneth and where is Rupert? Does it have anything to do with the wind farm? The Rhyme of the Magpie is a darling story. I give The Rhyme of the Magpie 3 out of 5 stars. The book is cute and has funny parts, but I just could not get into it. The murder was very easy to figure out (it can be solved not long after finding the body). This is just the first book in the series, and I am sure the next book will be even better. I received a complimentary copy of The Rhyme of a Magpie from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
carol223CS More than 1 year ago
Marty Wingate's The Rhyme of the Magpie. Julia Lanchester is the daughter of the famous birder, Rupert Lanchester. Rupert is the star of a BBC Nature series. Julia  quits her job in a dispute with her father. She feels he married  too soon following the death of her mother. Julia takes a management position in the Tourist Information  Center in Smeaton-under-Lyme. This is a lovely English town  setting. Julia’s backyard affords us a look at some of the area birds. Then Rupert goes missing…. To where could he have  disappeared?? Did he go of his own accord or is foul play  involved as a threatening letter is found.  We get to travel to Marshy End . Rupert has a cabin there. Julia and Michael Sedgwick, the replacement for Julia’s position with Rupert, go to see if that is where her father is staying.  No Rupert instead they discover a body…. A dead body!!! Great cast of characters with a lot of suspects. All the characters were well-developed with each bringing their own flavor to the story. Loved the chemistry between the main characters. Mix together birding, rhyme, danger, intrigue, mystery, a well plotted book with humor plus romance and this cozy mystery  gives you a captivating read.  Thank you to Net Gallery for this eBook. My opinion is my own.