• Gemma

The Crystal Crypt by Fiona Veitch Smith

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for sixth book in the Poppy Denby Investigates series, The Crystal Crypt, by Fiona Veitch Smith. Published 19th November 2021.



The 1920s most stylish sleuth returns in The Crystal Crypt for another intriguing murder mystery!

“But accidents can still happen… Perhaps there was something out of her control, something she couldn’t have foreseen…”

“Like someone plotting to kill her?”

Reporter sleuth Poppy Denby is asked to investigate the mysterious death of an up-and-coming female scientist in an Oxford laboratory known as the Crystal Crypt. The official verdict is that Dr June Leighton died in a tragic accident, but Dr Leighton’s lab assistant believes it was murder. However, when Poppy discovers that the colleague has spent time in a mental institution and has an unresolved murder in her own past, Poppy wonders if she is being misled. But then, another female academic is attacked, and Poppy herself becomes a target.



This cosy mystery set in the 1920s was a delightful read. I loved how it featured strong female characters who fought their way for equality in a white, dominated male world. Their feisty and determined personalities added to the storyline and as a female living in today's age it made me truly appreciate the horrors and constrictions that women, or persons of colour had to face in the 1920's. It's also very sad to think that ten decades later we are still living with prejudice in our society and still fighting for equality.

The Crystal Crypt was a well-written murder mystery and although book 6 in the Poppy Denby Investigates series, it can definitely be read as a standalone novel. The characters were well rounded, three-dimensional and quirky which I loved. The historical setting was a pure joy to read and I loved the rich description of Oxford. The map at the front of the book added further to the detailed description and I enjoyed 'walking' around the city following Poppy on her investigation. I have been allocated the location of The White Horse for this blog tour and I am thrilled to say that The White Horse is still a landmark in Oxford today as to is Blackwell's Bookshop. It is these added details that make the book stand out.

There were a few red herrings in the novel with the addition of lots of twists and turns. I thought I had figured it out to then be totally thrown off guard again. As this was an easy read I wasn't quite anticipating the complexity of the plot or the depth of characters that really made this a unpredictable read.

Many thanks to Fern Lindsey-Tolley for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Lion Hudson for my gifted copy. A thoroughly enjoyable read.



Fiona Veitch Smith is the author of the Poppy Denby Investigates novels, Golden Age-style murder mysteries set in the 1920s, about a reporter sleuth who works for a London tabloid. The first book in the series, The Jazz Files, was shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, while subsequent books have been shortlisted for the Foreword Review Mystery Novel of the Year and the People’s Book Prize. She is formerly a journalist, having worked on the arts and crime beats of a Cape Town newspaper, and lectured in journalism in the UK for ten years.

She lives with her husband, daughter and dog in Newcastle upon Tyne. On her non-writing days, she works part-time as a freelance editor and writing tutor, as well as being the Assistant Secretary of the Crime Writers’ Association.

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