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 Fabergé 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 Fabergé 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?
This is an historical fiction book set in London, written by a British-based author. I always appreciate the opportunity to read these when they come along.
Poppy Denby first came on the scene in The Jazz Files, which I admit to not having read. This second novel apparently takes place in 1920, shortly after the events of the first title. There are references to those events, but knowledge of them (or lack thereof) didn’t impact my reading enjoyment.
The opening pages consist of a map of 1920s London, highlighting locations pivotal to the story, and a thorough cast of characters. I referred to these often as Poppy and her friends visited various places and interacted with a lot of people. Pivotal Russian historical characters are featured, including Rasputin’s assassin and the mother-in-law of Tsar Nicholas II. I found the narrative slow going through the first couple of chapters, but once it got to the Crystal Palace and the theft of the Faberge egg it sped up and caught my interest.
On her Poppy Denby website, the author makes a point of saying that this series is not Christian fiction. Instead, it’s about a young woman experiencing the world and attempting to reconcile it to her faith. Consequently, there are things some readers may not appreciate. This is the ‘Roaring 20s’ of jazz clubs, drinking, and promiscuity. Not all the characters are Christians; some are anything but. This is a good look at life in London after World War I, and the clash of old and new ideas. For example, Poppy wonders if a woman could marry and keep her career. As for the plot, I found it intriguing and it kept me guessing for much of the story. I wondered who was responsible for the theft and, as information gradually came to light, I began questioning who could be trusted. When the villain was revealed, it made sense even if I hadn’t guessed who it was. Overall, it’s a fun story which kept me entertained for a couple of hours.
Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of The Kill Fee, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Kill Fee? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Lion Fiction (a division of Kregel)
Publication Date: 27 November 2017
Page Count: 336