Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review: The Jazz File by Fiona Vietch Smith

In recent years, I've found some of my favorite new authors aren't American. Many of the books I've enjoyed most have been published by Kregel Publications under Lion Hudson's imprint.

Fiona Vietch Smith  is another example of a British author I've just met, and thoroughly enjoyed. The Jazz Files is the first book in her new Poppy Denby Investigates series. Set in the early 1920s, Poppy Denby is a young girl from Northumberland who moves to London to start a career.

A photo posted by April E (@elcloudapril) on

With the encouragement of her former-suffragette Aunt Dot, Poppy applies at The Daily Globe. She is hired as an assistant to the editor, but quickly finds herself writing articles when the newspaper is short-staffed. Rollo Rolandson (the newspaper owner and editor) is impressed with Poppy's nose for news and soon she is embroiled in unraveling a 7 year old mystery that involves her aunt and her suffragette friends.

I picked up The Jazz Files when I was recovering the flu. I thought I might as well get started on it, while I was resting. But I couldn't put the book down and read the whole thing in one afternoon. I loved meeting Poppy and her friends. I do enjoy books and movies set in the 1920s, but mostly I just enjoy a good mystery. I was delighted by The Jazz Files and found it to be very well-written.

Fiona has created a lovely website at where you can learn more about her book series and the 1920s. I enjoyed watching a video of one of the dances mentioned in the book, and looking at old photos that set the mood for The Jazz Files. One of the pictures fit my vision of Delilah perfectly, and another photo could have been the curly-haired Poppy.

Note: For those who only want to read Christian fiction, some may not feel this is Christian enough. For instance, many of Poppy's friends and even family are not living godly lifestyles, Poppy has left her parent's Methodist upbringing and tries things that would shock her parents, including drinking moderately. There is an accusation of a same-gender relationship that may also upset the most critical readers. However, Poppy does have a relationship with God and has her own spiritual renewal while attending a Catholic Mass in France, even though she isn't Catholic. As in most British literature, religion is kept more as an undertone rather than an overtone to the book.

The Jazz Files is a charming cozy mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. My 16 year old daughter will be reading it now that I've finished with it. I consider it completely appropriate for her to read and would have allowed her to read it at 13 or 14, as well. I'm looking forward to future Poppy Denby mysteries, and other books by Fiona Vietch Smith.

April E.

1 comment:

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