Welcome to Poppy Denby!


Poppy Denby Investigates is a mystery series set in the 1920s about an investigative journalist called Poppy Denby (no surprises there). It is published by Lion Fiction. The first book in the series, The Jazz Files, sees Poppy arriving in London from her home in Northumberland to look after her paraplegic Aunt Dot. Aunt Dot is an infamous suffragette who was crippled in clashes with the police outside the Houses of Parliament in 1910.

poppy typewriterShe encourages Poppy to apply for a job at The Daily Globe which is owned by American expat, Rollo Rolandson, a hard-drinking but highly astute newspaperman who suffers from dwarfism. On Poppy’s first day on the job a senior reporter dies under suspicious circumstances and she takes over the story he was investigating before his demise. It involves the mysterious death of a suffragette seven years earlier and the powerful people who are now trying to hide the truth.

DelilahBut with Poppy it is never all work and no play. Her friend Delilah Marconi – a flapper and jazz club dancer – introduces Poppy to the giddy world of the Roaring Twenties with its jazz clubs, flapper fashion and romance. If you love mysteries and 1920s culture, you will love Poppy Denby.

On this website you will find background information on the world of Poppy Denby. Much of this informed the writing of author Fiona Veitch Smith. You can listen to the music Poppy listened to, check out the fashion of the period, or, if you want to dig a little deeper, find out more about the history of the women’s suffrage movement. If you haven’t yet read The Jazz Files, don’t worry – there aren’t any spoilers.

”It stands for Jazz Files,” said Rollo. “It’s what we call any story that has a whiff of high society scandal but can’t yet be proven … you never know when a skeleton in the closet might prove useful to a story we’re working on now.”

Book 2 in the series, The Kill Fee, sees Poppy investigating the theft of a Faberge Egg and the assassination of a White Russian Princess in a West End Theatre.

Book 3 in the series, The Death Beat, sees Poppy and Rollo heading to New York for three months and discovering it’s murder in Manhattan.

30 thoughts on “Welcome to Poppy Denby!”

    1. Hi Mandy, I was interested to read your comment comparing this to “Agatha Christie at her best” but to me it is FAR better than that. AC’s characters were two-dimensional but Poppy and her relatives and associates are rounded and fascinating characters. Enjoyed the book hugely and can’t wait to read more of her adventures…

      1. Thank you Lesley :) I too struggle with AC’s characterisation – and even though Poppy is a fan of her books, I’m not. But I think (hope) Mandy was referring to the mystery element and plotting. So I do take it as a compliment.

  1. I have only just started reading the Jazz Files, but already I’m riveted. I will be looking out for the sequels with great anticipation!

  2. Poppy lives! A new, adorable and unforgettable literary character is born. Can’t wait to read the next one, and the next, and the next..

    1. Fiona,
      Thank you for creating a wonderful character and writing her a really great mystery. Almost finished the book and I’ll be very sorry to leave her world.

  3. I can’t wait to start reading about Poppy’s adventures! Just this year I’ve joined a romantic suspense group in Romance Writers of America and I’ve been wanting to read more mystery and suspense. Poppy is just what I need to study the mystery/suspense genre.
    Congratulations, Fiona!

    1. Hello Tambra! I do hope you have fun with Poppy. Life in the romance department is a little complicated for the girl. Tricky to juggle love affairs with solving crime – but she gives it a good go :) Enjoy!

  4. Once I started to read The Jazz Files I couldn’t stop. All work has been put on hold and I’ve just finished it. What a fantastic read – much better character development than many authors in this chenre, and I read a lot!Can’t wait for the next one. Thank you for a thrilling story with good background, believable characters and a great story.

    1. How kind of you to stop by Jane. I loved writing this book so I am delighted that you enjoyed reading it. The next one will be out on 16 September.

  5. I was thoroughly drawn into the world of the Jazz Files with Poppy Denby and characters. I didn’t want the book to end and can’t wait until your new book comes out.

    1. That’s lovely to hear, Christine. Thank you for letting me know. The new book, The Kill Fee, is coming out on 16 September and I hope you enjoy it as much as the first one.

    1. Thank you for coming, Pat! I enjoyed it very much. A lovely, engaged audience. Sorry for the sniffles – seems like it wasn’t only Donald Trump who had problems :)

  6. Fiona,

    I just wanted to say congratulations on being nominated for the Historical Dagger. What an honor! I finished “The Jazz Files” this week because it was advertised in the back of my Lion Fiction book, “The Cantaloupe Thief.” I thoroughly enjoyed your mystery and hope there will be more cross-referencing on our back pages.
    Enjoy your wonderful success!

    1. Hello Deb,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. The Cantaloupe Thief is a wonderful book – and don’t you just love the cover? Thanks for the well wishes re the Dagger. It is indeed a real honour – and it’s been huge fun going to all the events. I shall pass on your comments about cross referencing to Lion – yes I think it’s a fabulous idea! Book 2 in the series, The Kill Fee, is coming out in the States later this month. I hope you enjoy it as much as the first. Will we be seeing any more of your series?

      Fiona

    1. Hi Judy. Book 3, The Death Beat, will be out in the autumn – October in the UK and November in the USA. Sorry you have to wait so long!

  7. I absolutely love The Jazz Files. I found it by googling historical mysteries and it popped up! It was just one of the best stories snd I like that I learned all sorts of fun facts from it! I have already purchased The Kill Fee and pre-ordered book 3. Please keep them coming!

    1. Hello Leslie! Oh what fun! I’m so glad you found the books and have enjoyed them. Book 3 is already out so I hope it gets delivered to you soon.

      Love,
      Fiona

  8. Just finished The Kill Fee – thank you – I really enjoyed it. I always appreciate the time spent by the author to state historical facts and liberties. One thing jumped off the page – Sir Walter Lane of Guisborough- what was the inspiration behind his name?

    1. Hello Cath. Thanks for getting in touch. I’m very glad you enjoyed The Kill Fee. Have you read The Jazz Files too? Regarding the names in my books, sometimes they have a story attached to them – something that inspired me – and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, particularly with the lesser characters, they are just names that pop into my head. Sir Walter was one of those. His is a doubly fictional name. He is obviously made up by me, but also by Adam. And he is only mentioned once in the book. I wonder why that name jumped out at you? So as I was writing I thought that Adam has to make up a name for his imaginary father. It would be Sir someone or other. And although I never consciously thought about it, I suppose Sir Walter is common in literature – Sir Walter Scott, Sir Walter Raleigh. Lane of course because that’s Adam’s surname (again, he was just a walk-on character in The Jazz Files and that was the first name that popped into my head)and Guisborough I don’t know why. It’s a town near Redcar on Teeside so perhaps I had recently seen a sign for it, or it might have been mentioned on our regional news (I live in Newcastle) and hence was in my sub-conscious. My dad’s cousin lived near Guisborough but I haven’t been there since my great-aunt’s funeral over ten years ago, so I doubt it was that. Once the name came to mind I would have done a quick internet search to see that there was no real Sir Walter Lane of Guisborough, and as there wasn’t, it would have been as good a name as any.Sorry there’s nothing more exciting to it than that :)

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Poppy Denby investigates