A young man deals with the death of his father after finding a skull in the ground, which leads to the 50-year-old mystery of a missing Irish birdwatcher.

One day in the middle of summer, on the outskirts of Liverpool, Jonathan Stone returns home to his family he’d not seen in five years. As he comes to terms with his family’s past, he makes an unusual discovery on the railway tracks: a human skull.

It once belonged to an Irish birdwatcher named Bill O’Connor. Fifty years ago in Dublin, he walked out on his family after all the men in his family committed suicide. But why did he travel over 100 miles to die?

Jonathan and his friends begin piecing together the fragments of Bill O’Connor’s life: the pub owned by the O’Connor family, Bill’s published book on ornithology, love, death and betrayal. As Bill O’Connor’s life is revealed more and more, Jonathan must accept his own past, the trouble he got into as a boy, and his death of his own father.

As the threads of history between the two families become clear, it seems the answers were closer to home than Jonathan realised.

Magpie is a story about family history, about coming to terms with your own past and dark secrets buried away. It’s a story about making your own decisions rather than counting magpies for luck.


Magpie is currently unpublished, and I’m looking for a publisher to take on this manuscript. Beginning in 2013, Magpie was a seven-year long project and my first novel. In 2017, it was longlisted for Peguin Random House WriteNow.

Click here to read chapter one of Magpie:


Cover photo by Darius K on Unsplash