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The Crystal Crypt by Fiona Veitch Smith

Newshound And Bloodhound

The Crystal Crypt by Fiona Veitch Smith is a marvellous historical amateur sleuthing novel. It is the sixth book in the Poppy Denby Investigates series but can be read as a stand-alone. For me, I enjoyed catching up with familiar faces as Poppy Denby once more finds herself investigating a murder.

The novel is set in 1925 when the role of women was decidedly below that of men. Women were seen as second-class citizens, good for making the tea and looking pretty. Within the book there are strong women who are breaking out of this role. The reader meets not only Poppy as a reporter but a WPC and some female academics at Oxford. All are breaking the traditional mold of women.

As well as the women, the reader witnesses the attitudes towards disability and men of colour which horrifies the modern reader. One of my favourite scenes was of Poppy Denby forcefully acquiring a hotel room for her male colleague Ike.

The novel is mainly set within the academia of Oxford. It is very much a closed world that discourages the outsider.

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