Today I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Art Fiasco, the lastest novel in the Poppy Denby Investigates series by Fiona Veitch Smith.
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…
Poppy Denby is back for her fifth adventure and this could be her toughest investigation yet!
I discovered Fiona’s Poppy Denby Investigates series last year and oh what a delight they are. A more traditional murder mystery but with an engaging feisty female lead that is a delight to follow. Poppy is incredibly likeable and I think this is one of the strengths of the series. She’s smart, independent and courageous. She’ll also stop at nothing to uncover the culprit of whatever heinous crime she might be investigating.
Before we meet up with Poppy in 1924, we are whisked back to 1897 and watch fourteen-year-old Agnes as she sneaks off to her weekly art class. Events surrounding these classes will become a shadow that will hang over her and will, unfortunately, come back to haunt her when she returns to her home town many years later as a celebrated artist.
Hop forward to 1924 and Poppy is away from the hustle and bustle of London visiting Newcastle to attend the opening night of a play starring her best friend Delilah. Whilst there Poppy meets Agnes who pleads with Poppy to help her to keep her past from coming up at an upcoming press conference. However, the past never remains hidden for long and people start to snoop and speculate and before we know it Poppy has become entangled in a murder investigation. There is no such thing as a holiday for Poppy Denby,
The things I love… the way Fiona expertly takes us back to 1920’s England. The hardship left behind after the war, the decadence that surround the youth of the time as they embraced life with both hands. The style and joie de vivre of the time. Fiona weaves it brilliantly into an engaging plot that has just the right level of sinister goings on and will throw you plenty of twists and turns along the way. I love the way she writes and the level of detail she brings to her stories. I especially enjoy the name dropping. All combined it adds great colour and enjoyment to my reading.
So, another delightful, entertaining read and the perfect form of escapism. As always it’s left me wanting more from this super series.
Although this is a series please don’t feel you have to start at the beginning. I began with book 4, but just be warned that, like me, you may find yourself wishing to read the previous ones immediately. 😊
Thank you so much to Fern for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and supplying me with a review copy. It’s been an absolute joy to return to Poppy again.
You can read my review of The Cairo Brief, book 4 in the series here.
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.