Another great review of The Kill Fee in the highly respected Historical Novel Review (Issue 79), published by the Historical Novel Society. Relieved to have passed muster! (Glad to see they liked my original 1920 map – I spent months looking for just the right one).

It’s October 1920 in London, and young reporter Poppy Denby finds herself in the midst of murder, Bolshevik intrigue, stolen Faberge eggs, and aristocratic Russian princess actresses. Poppy is only slightly distracted by her beau, widowed Daniel Rokeby, who is more ready than Poppy to move their relationship along. It’s up to Poppy to get ahead of the detectives investigating the murders and thefts, not only to see justice done but also to get the scoop on competing newspapers.

This is a light, fast read, well-written and with plenty of twists and eccentric characters—including playwright George Bernard Shaw, Rasputin assassin Prince Felix Yusopov, and even the Tsar and Tsarina—for there are episodes in the book that skip back in time. (The Romanovs, the wealthiest family in the world at the time, had been murdered in 1918.)

Smith warns readers about how complex the political scene was between the Russian Whites (supporters of the old order, or at least enemies of communism) and all the Red factions. No need to worry; she does a fine job of telling her story without political confusion, mostly by staying clear of politics. The confusion comes from the glut of characters, but again, not to worry. Smith helpfully offers an index of fictional and historical characters. There’s also a fine map of 1920 London at the front of the book.

All in all, an entertaining romp with nonstop action, a perky heroine, and quirky characters.

See the full review here.

The Jazz Files is launched!

Well it’s finally happened. The first book in my 1920s mystery series, Poppy Denby Investigates, has hit the shelves. If you’re in the Newcastle upon Tyne area on Friday the 25th at 7pm, do drop by Waterstones near the Monument for the official launch party. There will be live jazz, a free glass of bubbly and 1920s costume! Oh, and a chance to hear me read a chapter from the book. If you are in the UK, but not in the area, books are now available to order through your local bookshop or from various online retailers.

In Australia you can order through Booktopia

In New Zealand from Fishpond

In South Africa you can pre-order the paperback from Takealot.com or get the e-book today from Amazon.co.uk (at least I hope you can. If not, you will have to wait until it becomes available in the USA – see below).

In USA - I’m so sorry my darlings, but it is only being released in the USA on 28 November! However, if you really can’t wait – and who would blame you if you couldn’t? – you can order from the UK Amazon site and have it shipped over. It’ll get there long before the 28 November! Amazon.co.uk

If you would like to read more about Poppy Denby and her world, please visit www.poppydenby.com

Vintage 1923 Typewriter

It’s mine! All mine! A 1923 Remington vintage typewriter just like the one my character Poppy Denby would have used in her job on the Daily Globe. Bid against seven other people and won! Came in £8 under my top price. A belated birthday present from my darling husband and daughter. Now just waiting for the baby to be delivered ..