I’m not sure how I missed this when it came out two years ago, but the lovely Miss Jane featured the first two books in the Poppy Denby investigates series in her Mystery Monday video review. Lovely to hear that Poppy has another fan.
Poppy Denby in surround sound!
Today is a very exciting day for me, it’s the launch of the Poppy Denby audio books! Hurrah! If you are looking for something to wile away a long journey on holiday or lounging by a pool, then why not download one now? (They are also available in audio and MP3 cds). Narrated by the fabulous Helen Keeley and published by Lamplight Audiobooks,
I am thrilled to hear Poppy and her friends brought to life. I hope you will be too. Please note, the first three books, The Jazz Files, The Kill Fee and The Death Beat are available now. The Cairo Brief will be released next month. Download your books here.
Travelling 1920s style
I’ve just updated the Poppy Denby website with information on, and fabulous original photos of,the various trains, boats and automobiles Poppy and her friends use in London, Paris and New York. For readers who have already read the books, you can now see if your imagination matches up to reality. For those who haven’t, don’t worry, there are no plot spoilers as to whodunnit. Although book 3 is not quite out yet, I have included information on that too as a little taster. http://www.poppydenby.com/transport/
Give My Regards To Uncle Stalin
Today I am guesting on the Crime Readers’ Association Blog. I talk about how readers sometimes read books through their own personal lens and how one reader objected to my portrayal of Josef Stalin in book 2 of the Poppy Denby Investigates series – when Stalin doesn’t even appear in the book! I do, however, present a cross-section of characters who are both pro and anti-Bolshevism in a period when people were still trying to work out what the new movement might mean. The Kill Fee is set against the Russian Revolution and the plight of the exiled Romanovs in London.Poppy meets an eclectic mix of them including a White Russian princess actress, the killer of Rasputin, and some secret agents from both sides of the conflict. Our intrepid sleuth has to find her way through it all to track down the thief of a priceless Faberge Egg and to stop a murderer from striking again. To read the whole article visit the CRA Blog here.
Historical Novel Society Review – The Kill Fee
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.
Publishers’ Weekly reviews The Kill Fee
Smith (The Jazz Files) returns to formidable and spunky Poppy Denby, arts and entertainment editor for the Daily Globe, in this inspirational whodunit set in post-WWI London. As Poppy goes from covering a Russian art exhibit to looking for a murderer and a missing Fabergé egg, she takes on charming and possibly nefarious Andrei Nogovski of the Russian embassy. With help from Rollo Rolandson, her boss; fellow reporter Ike Garfield; aunt and suffragette Dot Denby; and best friend Delilah Marconi, Poppy follows leads and discovers that people aren’t always what they seem. Interspersed with Poppy’s story are flashbacks that center on a young Russian aristocrat and the nanny who saves her from the fate of the rest of her family. The audience follows them as they cross the Russian landscape and wait to see how their story intersects with Poppy’s mystery. The complicated plot, involving a myriad of both White and Red Russians, is offset by the list of characters at the beginning, reminding readers of numerous important names and their allegiances. Smith weaves together a diverse cast, including both male and female characters in positions of power, and depicting a variety of ethnicities and abilities without resorting to stereotypes. Embark with upstanding, uplifting Poppy and her friends on a mystery involving jewel thieves, Russian royalty, murders, sword fights, car chases, and secret tunnel. Full review here.