Poppy Denby Investigates: The Kill Fee: A 1920s Murder Mystery

I was introduced to investigative reporter Poppy Denby last year when I reviewed The Jazz Files.  I loved the spunky young reporter who lives in a time when women aren’t usually given jobs like reporting for a well-known newspaper. I was excited to see the second book in the Poppy Denby series by Fiona Veitch Smith- The Kill Fee.

This book, like the first, is set in 1920 in London. It’s right after the first world war. Poppy, who had come to London to supposedly care for her aunt- a well-known suffragette- has become an arts and entertainment reporter at The Globe. In The Kill Fee, the Russian revolution also comes into play in the historical setting.

Review of The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith

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From the book’s description…

Poppy Denby, arts and entertainment editor at the Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest FabergĂ© egg in the collection is stolen. While the egg itself is valuable, the secrets it contains within are priceless–secrets that could threaten major political powers.

Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the FabergĂ© egg, a Russian princess named Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin, inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg–and the other treasures–should all be restored to the Russian people.

Poppy, her editor, Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found and an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect. The race is on to find both the key and the egg–can they be found before the killer strikes again?

I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment in the series. I love the historical setting. The author notes at the back of the book the parts that are totally historically accurate and the places wherein she took the liberty of changing things to fit with Poppy’s story. One of my favorite parts of reading good historical fiction is the glimpse I can get into the time period.
The characters are well-developed. We get to know Poppy and those surrounding her better, and we’re introduced to new characters who are the central focus of this story. I think there’s a great balance of action, dialogue, and inner thoughts to develop the characters.
I also enjoy the descriptions. People in London are coming out of the hardships of the first World War. The outfits they wear, the leisure activities they pursue, the houses they live in- all of this reflects a country that is glad to be coming out of the war but is still mourning the loss of its young soldiers. Fiona Veitch Smith does a good job describing these to the reader.
The Kill Fee, from Kregel Publications, is considered Christian fiction, but there isn’t anything preachy or even overtly Christian. Poppy has faith in Christ and refers to her faith, but it isn’t mentioned frequently. I think the book could be enjoyed by Christian or non Christian readers alike.

You can find The Kill Fee on Kregel Publications here or on Amazon here. You can also read a Kindle excerpt of the book below.

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