About Magpie Hall
“There were two rumours surrounding my great- great-grandfather Henry Summers: one, that his cabinet of curiosities drove him mad; and, two, that he murdered his first wife.”
Rosemary Summers is a collector of tattoos and vintage clothing, and an amateur taxidermist. Grappling with her unfinished thesis on the Gothic Victorian novel and grieving the death of her beloved grandfather, she returns to Magpie Hall alone to collect her inheritance – her grandfather’s prized taxidermy collection, started by her great-great grandfather Henry Summers more than 100 years ago.
However, his legacy extends beyond mere taxidermy and leads to a cabinet of Victorian curiosities; a proverbial ‘Pandora’s Box’. Will it explode the lid on the secret lives of Henry Summers and his wife, Dora, and throw a new light on her mysterious disappearance?
Magpie Hall explores the fleshly taboo around class and tattoos in the Victorian era; the intimacy and atavistic nature of a marriage and contemporary relationships; the potentially obsessive/ compulsive behaviour of collecting flora, fauna (and other things) that can decimate native species and ruin lives.
A modern-day ghost story with a twist, this is story- telling at its most visceral and sublime. Magpie Hall is a multi-layered story; a delectable Gothic novel inside a ghost story inside a Gothic novel.
Rachael King brings a sharp, dark edge to this literary drama and a playfulness to the genre of the Gothic novel. She recalls the ghostly spirit of Wuthering Heights and evokes past and present-day New Zealand with intelligence and ease.
Magpie Hall is currently published by Vintage in New Zealand only.
Magpie hall is available as an eBook.
Buy the Kindle Edition on Amazon.