Fiona Veitch Smith

Fiona with partner Leston Blackburn in The Boyfriend when she was 16.
Fiona with partner Leston Blackburn in The Boyfriend when she was 16.

Ever since I was cast in the role of Maisie in the Springs Girls’ High School production of The Boyfriend when I was 16, I have loved all things 1920s. I love the fashion, the music, the dance styles and the literature of the period.

Although I have written books and scripts in various genre  the Poppy Denby Investigates series reflects more of me and my personal interests than any of my other books or plays.

Fiona as she looks now.
Fiona as she looks now.

I worked as a newspaper journalist in Cape Town and a freelance magazine journalist in the UK – Poppy is a journalist. I also studied drama and worked for a few years with my husband, Rodney, in a travelling music and theatre company – Delilah is a singer, dancer and actress. I play jazz clarinet (very poorly) – The Jazz Files sizzles with jazz. I have a degree in history and am fascinated by the suffragettes and other pioneering women.

Fiona as she imagines she looks now.
Fiona as she imagines she looks now (courtesy of Chris Bambrough).

I too, like Poppy, come from a non-conformist faith background and have negotiated the choppy waters of being a woman in a male-dominated working world. However, Poppy is not me, and I am not Poppy. In some ways she is braver than me, in others, far less worldly wise (she is only 22 after all). I like to think that Delilah is my alter-ego – the party girl I only ever occasionally let out. However, within the pages of The Jazz Files and subsequent books in the series, I hope my readers will find someone or something they can identify with. But beyond that, I hope they simply enjoy a rollicking good tale.

I am represented by Sara Keane of Keane Kataria Literary Agency for all my adult fiction.

Fiona getting into character in a 1928 Ford Pheaton.
Fiona getting into character in a 1928 Ford Pheaton, owned by Christine and Alan Simpson of Crawcrook, Northumberland.

Social Media

I am fairly active on social media – you can connect with me using these links:


16 thoughts on “Fiona Veitch Smith”

  1. I recently found The Jazz Files at my local library while perusing the New Fiction section – and I’m so glad I did! Poppy Denby is my new favorite heroine and I can’t wait to follow her new adventures. Thanks for a great read!!

    1. Hello AB Neiman! Thanks so much for getting in touch. I shall tell Poppy she has a new fan – she’ll be delighted! May I ask which library you found it in? It’s nice to know who is stocking it. Be on the lookout for Poppy Denby 2 – The Kill Fee – which is coming out in September.

    1. Hello Maurice, so glad you enjoyed them. Book 3, The Death Beat, set in New York, will be coming on in October. And I am busy writing book 4 which will be out in the autumn of 2018. Have a flapulous day!

      1. You have no idea how absolutely over the moon I am to hear there’s a book 4 in the works. Thank you!

        1. I’m very glad to hear it, Leslie :) It’s called The Cairo Brief and will be out in October.

  2. Hi Fiona,
    I also found my copy of The Jazz Files at my local library, the Harris County Public Library in Houston, Texas USA. I’ve just placed a hold on The Kill Fee. I’m sharing these books with my sister who also loves British mysteries.

    Thanks for sharing your love of all things 1920s with us. It’s coming through loud and strong! :)

  3. Fantastic Poppy Denby…once i started reDing, just couldn’t put it down…
    Bring on more Poppy! Can’t wait!!

  4. Hi Fiona! I am in the midst of finishing the Cairo Brief and have loved Poppy’s adventures so far. You are a gifted writer and an inspiration to me – an aspiring writer with a big imagination.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the quote: “Write what you know.”

    Is it true? Does it apply to a hopeful writer? Does it help?

    If you could answer any of these questions I would be very grateful!

    Willow xx
    Ps. I am hoping to host a Roaring 20’s style birthday party next year (as it will be 100 years since the first 20s) – any suggestions on how to keep it entertaining but not tacky?

    1. Hi Willow,

      I’m very glad you are enjoying the Poppy books. Regarding parties, I think they are very personal – one person’s tat is another one’s treasure. The flapper parties of the 20s were considered tacky and tasteless by the establishment. So you need to do what you would like do and don’t worry about what other people think. Have a flapulous time!

      Regarding write what you know, it is good advice that is often misunderstood. It does not mean you should only write about things you have experienced. Where would that leave fantasy writers, for instance? I have never lived in the 1920s. I have not discovered Egyptian treasure. I have never been to a fake seance. All these things can be researched. But I have been a young female journalist and know a bit about what that’s like. That helps me to create a believable setting and helps me understand the emotions and different experiences of Poppy in her work life. So yes, writing about a world you are familiar with can give your writing authenticity, but don’t be limited by it. Happy writing!


  5. Recently discovered Poppy Denby series, and within days finished them all to The Cairo Brief! THANK YOU for creating this FANTASTIC character & book series! May I please ask when your many fans can expect another installment of this amazing series? I’m addicted and can’t wait for the next book!

    1. Hi Laurie, how lovely that you are enjoying Poppy so much. Due to other work commitments I had to take a year off from writing this series. However I am currently writing book 5 and it should be on the shelves this time next year. Sorry for the delay! But I can assure you Poppy is alive and well and getting her teeth into new adventures.


  6. Hello Fiona, it was wonderful meeting you at the ALCS AGM yesterday. I really look forward to reading your books, and will look out for future events and courses you’re doing in Newcastle. With best wishes, Paula

    1. Hello Paula! Lovely to meet you too. Hope to see you roon and aboot the Toon at future events.

      All the best,

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Poppy Denby investigates