The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith is an engaging and delightful read. (Ironically, the first book I selected after my Fiona was born was authored by a Fiona.)
Shortly after arriving in London in 1920, Poppy Denby takes a position as an assistant at a newspaper — hoping to start her own career as a journalist. But when the political editor drops dead, Poppy begins a journey unlike anything she imagined to learn the truth about the article he had been working on, one with very personal ties to her own family. But her determination to dig up the past puts her and those she loves in danger…
I enjoyed reading this well-written mystery and getting to know the characters of this new series by a new-to-me author. The heroine, Poppy, is easy to like and relatable — she isn’t an expert at much of anything, but she has spunk and determination. Her friends are a smattering of personalities and generations, each unique and likeable in their own way.
The antagonists are, unfortunately, somewhat more one-dimensional. I wish Smith had put more effort into making them relatable in their own way, or at least more believable.
I appreciated that Smith didn’t put Poppy’s romantic life at the forefront of this story and instead focused on the mystery to be solved and Poppy’s growth as an independent young woman of the 1920s. However, the themes of romance and first love are woven quietly into the background and make you want to see how her relationships evolve.
The setting was perhaps my favorite part of the book — and the reason why I picked it up in the first place. England in the roaring 20s is a fascinating place. I loved the historical context, from jazz clubs and bobbed haircuts to suffragette history. Smith stuck closely to the accurate history of the time, taking liberty only with a few dates in the world she created for Poppy.
I look forward to following Poppy’s adventures in the roaring 20s as more Poppy Denby Investigates books are released!
I received a complimentary copy of The Jazz Files from Lion Fiction, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
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