Friday, 27 November 2015

Reviewed: The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith







The Jazz Files was published by Lion Fiction on September 17, 2015.


Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.



The Jazz Files is the first book in the Poppy Denby Investigates series and I need more! It’s fast, clever, relevant and oh so addictive. Poppy Denby moves to London to look after her ailing aunt Dot. Poppy is persuaded to look for a job, and having had a keen interest in writing and journalism when she was just twelve years old, Poppy applies for newsroom jobs and lands herself a role as the editor’s assistant at The Daily Globe. The Jazz Files is set in the 1920s at a time when women having a career like this was frowned upon – flashbacks to the suffragette movement only reinforced that to the reader – and so Poppy faces relentless challenges amongst people not believing she is up for the job. But when on Poppy’s first day, one of the reporters doesn’t turn up, she offers to conduct an interview to replace his piece and then stumbles upon a murder mystery of her own that changes everything.

Poppy is a strong and feisty character – throwing herself into things without worrying too much what’s going to happen, at least not until afterwards. She’s extremely likeable without being weak – seeing her work her way through a male-dominated career and even lifestyle was inspiring and motivating, and maybe I connected with her character a little bit more because I’m the only female trainee sports journalist on my University course. I loved Poppy’s character though and really can’t wait to read more from her in future books. It was lovely to see Dot and Grace encouraging Poppy to be independent and find a career and do things her own way rather than just sitting back and accepting life in the times they are in.

There’s a little bit of everything in The Jazz Files which kept me completely engrossed in the story and I didn’t put the book down once until the end. A historical note at the end of this book from the author showed how much thought and research was put into the story, although that was evident just reading it and I felt the novel was a strong and authentic representation of life in the 1920s, even with the small liberties the author admits she has taken. Another aspect to this novel I loved was the friendship between Poppy and actress Delilah, as Delilah was bursting with character and really introduced Poppy to the jazz culture. Dancing, drinking and fashion are just a few of the themes we get to read about and the author’s style of writing really sprung the culture to life, making it vibrant, energetic and really fascinating to read.

The characters were great fun to read about and other than me wanting to be Poppy and Delilah’s new best friend, I also loved the character of Daniel, who was a friend of Poppy’s. There was a little romantic attraction between the two of them which developed naturally and I really fell for the two of them together. The dialogue and dynamics between them both was fresh and engaging but that was just the same for the entire book, really. Other than Daniel, however, I particularly enjoyed reading about the female characters, I suppose because we get to follow them through a life where their independence is not particularly welcomed and being female I just wanted to support them on their way to independence and cheer for them too.

The mystery part to this novel was very engaging and thought-provoking, not to mention entertaining as Poppy and Delilah got up to their own antics whilst investigating. To go into the investigation would be spoiling your interest in reading the book for yourself but I really loved how it all worked out – something quite different to the average mystery novel out at the moment. The plot is quite eccentric but that’s not meant in a negative way – in fact I have no negative things whatsoever to say about The Jazz Files. I was always made to be doubting and trying to work out what was to come next which is the thing I love the most about these kind of novels – the unpredictability. The Jazz Files is a fantastic start to the series and I will be impatiently awaiting the next instalment.


Fast-paced, fresh and a very engaging murder mystery





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