North East Connected

Newcastle City Library Goes Back to The 20’s for Grand Launch of “The Miss Clara Vale Mysteries”.

The Picture House Murders Flat Lay 1

Book enthusiasts, history buffs, and crime fiction aficionados are in for a treat as Newcastle author Fiona Veitch Smith launches her new historical crime series, “The Miss Clara Vale Mysteries.”

The free event takes place at Newcastle City Library on Thursday, November 2, 2023, from 5:30pm to 6:30 pm and features an engaging conversation between Fiona and Jacky Collins, (aka Dr Noir) founder of the renowned Newcastle Noir crime festival. In addition to the insightful discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to buy a signed copy of the debut book in the series, “The Picture House Murders” and toast the series with a complimentary glass of wine.

Author Fiona Veitch Smith has a rich cultural background, having worked as a journalist, a university lecturer, and a communications manager. She grew up in Northumberland and then moved to South Africa as a teenager before resettling back in Newcastle. Fiona’s fascination with the 1920s and ‘30s has played a significant role in shaping her novels.

Best known for her critically acclaimed CWA Historical Dagger shortlisted series “Poppy Denby Investigates,” she is an accomplished author with a diverse range of works, including Golden Age mysteries, historical fiction, children’s picture books, theatre, and short films. She has captivated readers worldwide with her tales set in the Roaring Twenties.

“The Picture House Murders,” the first instalment of “The Miss Clara Vale Mysteries,” is already riding high on the Amazon charts and delves into the intriguing world of 1929 Newcastle. Miss Clara Vale is an unconventional woman of her time, driven by her passion for science and a desire to forge her own path. She’s a pioneer in her own right, pursuing a degree in chemistry when societal expectations dictated otherwise. Her life takes a thrilling turn when her estranged uncle’s sudden demise bequeaths her his private detective agency and laboratory. The unexpected inheritance sends her from London to Newcastle into the realm of detective work including solving the mystery of a death in a picture house. The book delves into the history of early cinema and also examines the forensic science available as well as commentating on the obstacles on women’s advancement in those days.

Fiona has set the story in her beloved north east. The Picture House is located in Whitley Bay while other chapters feature the Spanish City, Tynemouth and prominent buildings in Newcastle including the Royal Station Hotel and Exhibition Park. The beautiful island of Lindisfarne also features.

“I’ve been very lucky to be able to combine my passion for the art deco period with my love of the region and crime writing. Clara Vale is my latest character and many people in the north east will recognise that name as it is a village in the Tyne Valley. There is a reason why she is called that but that’s for another book to reveal its secret,” said Fiona.

“I do hope crime writing fans will come to the free event on November 2nd and help me to launch the detective career of Miss Clara Vale almost a century after she moved to Newcastle.”

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