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The Jazz Files – Fiona Veitch Smith

By Cleopatralovesbooks @cleo_bannister
Crime Fiction 4*s

Crime Fiction

Being interested in women’s rights throughout history, this book which harks back to the 1920s and features Poppy Denby who works for The Daily Globe, initially as an office assistant, this book caught my eye. Unsurprisingly as it has a beautiful cover!

Poppy Denby moves from the north of England to stay with her aunt in London, a militant suffragette, and gets a job working at The Daily Globe. She has only just started when one of the other reporters dies in mysterious circumstances. With the other reporters following their own stories Poppy starts to investigate the story he was working on and to the archives to unearth the treasures in the jazz files

“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.”

The leads see Poppy visiting  an asylum, meeting a despicable Lord and his son and a information about her aunt and her fellow militant suffragettes back when the campaigning done was at its fiercest.

There is lots to love about this book, despite it being crime fiction and detailing what the suffragettes went through in order to get the vote, it also has quite a light feel to it – Poppy following the leads to write her first piece of journalism felt like a romp mirroring the mood of the day in 1920s London. There is also a small bit of a frothy romance to ensure that the storyline doesn’t get too morose.

It is great to read a book where the majority of the major characters are women who for the most part are supportive of each other, devoid of jealousy or malice. As well as her aunt, Poppy makes friends with an actress, Delilah who introduces Poppy to the jazz clubs and the latest fashions.

The Jazz Files dress

Click on the dress to see more about fashion in the 1920s on a website all about Poppy Denby

As well as a bunch of great characters this book is also solidly based on research although the author does point out at the end where she has taken a rare liberty with time-lines or real people and why she has done so. I certainly got the feeling that I had been transported back in time where horses still featured on the roads more often than cars and where men dismissed women’s abilities to work, make decisions or in fact much at all! At the same time we have Poppy who although not political, realises that there is more to life than working at the Methodist mission, as she did while living with her parents. Although of course that work didn’t put her life in danger the way her investigation does.

I’d like to thank the publishers Lion Hudson PLC for allowing me to read a copy of this book. When Poppy Denby takes on her next investigation, I will be there.

The Jazz Files – Fiona Veitch Smith

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