Poppy Denby is back in the latest addition to the “Poppy Denby Investigates” series by Fiona Veitch Smith. Each one of these novels stands alone and is a treat in and of itself. However, I highly recommend reading them all!

Never one to shy away from the harsh edges of the glamorous 1920s life, Fiona incorporates challenges facing women in each novel. A trigger warning for this one though, it tackles child molestation and the opening chapter is distressing for the sensitive reader. Once the story hits its stride, it is full of the delights of a Poppy novel: mystery, interesting characters, history and humour.

Unlike it’s predecessors, Poppy isn’t based in London, she’s headed home to Northumberland via Newcastle. Aunt Dot and Delia are in fine form as they whisk Poppy to the theatre and get her involved in an exhibition at a local art gallery. Before she knows it, Poppy is at the centre of a murder and trying to work with the local detective who looks less than favourably on having a journalist involved in his investigation. Fear not, we may be out of London but newspaper editor Rollo and his team are still a part of the story and up to their usual tricks!

The mystery is multi-faceted with red herrings and interesting twists! I just love Fiona’s writing style and the way she brings it all together! If you are looking for a good historical mystery, this one is for you! It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale and highly recommended!

From the back cover:

It’s 1924 and Poppy Denby is heading up to Northumberland to celebrate her father’s sixtieth birthday. She stops off in Newcastle en route to visit her Aunt Dot, who has temporarily relocated from London to renovate a house she’s inherited. 

One of Aunt Dot’s guests is the world-renowned artist, Agnes Robson, who is staging an exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery. Reluctantly, Poppy is roped in to help when the artist’s press liaison man falls ill. 

She soon discovers that the local press has dug up some dirt on Agnes relating to the tragic death of a young art teacher in Ashington Colliery, twenty-seven years earlier. As she tries to suppress the story, Poppy begins to suspect that the teacher might have been murdered and that the killer may still be on the loose…

A little more about the author:

Fiona Veitch Smith is the author of the Poppy Denby Investigates novels, Golden Age-style murder mysteries set in the 1920s, about a reporter sleuth who works for a London tabloid. The first book in the series, The Jazz Files, was shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, while subsequent books have been shortlisted for the Foreword Review Mystery Novel of the Year and the People’s Book Prize. She is formerly a journalist, having worked on the arts and crime beats of a Cape Town newspaper, and lectured in journalism in the UK for over a decade. She is currently the Deputy Editor of the CWA’s Red Herrings Magazine.

I am part of the “The Art Fiasco” blog tour, explore other reviews by visiting these bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Lion Hudson Ltd through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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