Monday, March 14, 2016

The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith

This is a fun mystery set in London during the summer of 1920. It was a time of transition with World War I and the deadly Spanish Flu a recent memory. It was also a time of moving into a new era, one where women were making their mark in a man's world.

Our sleuth is Poppy, recently come to London to start her career. She manages to snag an editor's assistant job at The Daily Globe and her world explodes into mystery, danger, and suspense.

Poppy's adventures, as she tries to uncover a mystery begun seven years before, are entertaining. I also liked the setting of the novel. Poppy's aunt had been heavily involved in the suffragette movement in England and it was interesting reading about it. It was a controversial time and some men aggressively opposed the movement, thinking nothing of causing mayhem in the process.

Jazz plays a part in the novel as Poppy goes to a jazz club, hears new tunes and enters into new dancing gyrations. It was fun reading about the impact of the new music, the new dances, and the scandalously new women's clothing of the day. The telephone was becoming more widespread, as were automobiles.

Jazz played another part in the term “jazz files.” They were files the newspaper office kept in storage. A story might be one that was about high society having a hint of a scandal that could not be proven. The stories were indexed for retrieval as they might be useful in a current story.

The jazz files theme ran through the novel as current events have their roots in actions seven years ago. Powerful men want the history to stay buried but a gutsy Poppy is determined to bring all to light. She is a resourceful woman and I look forward to reading more in this series. I do recommend it to those who enjoy an English historical mystery with a strong female sleuth.

You can find out more about the book and watch a book trailer at

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Fiona Veitch Smith has worked as a journalist in South Africa and the UK and is now an Associate Lecturer in Journalism at Newcastle University. She also teaches Creative Writing at Northumbria University.

Lion Hudson (distributed in the U.S. By Kregel), 320 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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