Category Archives: News

1932 vintage gown for Miss Clara Vale

I’ve been making another vintage dress. This one is a 1932 inspired Chanel evening dress in teal Crepe Georgette. It was a challenging make, not least because the instructions on these vintage patterns are so sparse! That and they seemed to have very skinny arms back in those days (well that’s my excuse and I’m going to stick with it.) This is the dress that Miss Clara Vale will be wearing in book 4 in the series, Another Class of Murder. Meanwhile, I will give it a test run at Crime Fest in Bristol next week.

The Picture House Murders – #1 Best Seller!

I’m delighted to see that The Picture House Murders has reached the #1 Best Seller spot in historical mysteries on Amazon UK. How heartening that so many people are loving this book. Thank you to all my readers – old and new – who have made this happen. I’m tickled pink and Clara is quietly chuffed.

Books for trees!

One of the reasons I chose to sign a contract with Bonnier Books is that they are an ethical publishing company committed to becoming carbon neutral. So I was delighted, yesterday, when I received an email from them telling me that for every book they publish they plant 10 trees – and I could choose where ‘my’ trees go! They partner with a number of reforestation projects around the world, and their latest one is in the Eastern Cape, on the outskirts of Addo. This is where my husband’s family live and where we met, at Rhodes University, over 30 years ago now.

So, thank you for buying The Picture House Murders. You will be contributing a couple of leaves to those trees! 🙂

man planting a young tree

Publication day for The Picture House Murders!

Lights, camera, action! It’s publication day for The Picture House Murders, the first in the Miss Clara Vale Mysteries. Is it too early for champagne? While I ponder that, you can get your copy now! Ebook, print or audiobook via Amazon, or order a copy through your local bookshop. Embla Books, Bonnier Books UK

Order your copy here!

Clapperboards and the reel of film lie on a wooden board.

The Picture House Murders audiobook

The audiobook of The Picture House Murders, narrated by the very talented Hannah Geniuses , is available now! The Picture House Murders, published by Embla Books, is the first in the new Miss Clara Vale Mysteries. It is set in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1929, and Hannah does a smashing job with the Geordie accent. The clip below is from the opening scene of the book (no Geordies involved yet!). You can order the audiobook for yourself here: The Picture House Murders audiobook.

Announcing ‘The Picture House Murders’

The Picture House Murders, the first in the brand new Miss Clara Vale Mysteries, is available to pre-order now! Coming out in ebook, audiobook and print on demand on 29 August 2023. Published by Embla Books, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK.

The Picture House Murders by Fiona Veitch Smith - book 1 of The Miss Clara Vale Mysteries

Order your copy now: The Picture House Murders.

Murder is no occupation for a lady… or is it?

1929: Miss Clara Vale is a woman ahead of her time. Rather than attending Oxford to bag an eligible aristocrat (as her mother, Lady Vale, so desperately hoped), she threw herself into a degree in chemistry, with aspirations to become a scientist in her own right.
But the world isn’t ready for Clara. Unable to land a job in science because she’s a woman, she is stuck behind the desk at a dingy London library. Until her estranged uncle dies suddenly, leaving her his private detective agency in Newcastle upon Tyne, and a laboratory, in his will.

Clara couldn’t become a detective, could she?
The decision is made for her when one of her uncle’s old clients comes to her for help with a case surrounding the local picture house and invites Clara to see the latest show, before they discuss the details. But during the film, a fire suddenly engulfs the picture house, with tragic consequences. It seems at first an accident, but Clara soon begins to question if it was in fact a carefully orchestrated murder. She’s suddenly in the middle of a deadly mystery and will discover her scientific skills make her a sleuth to be reckoned with… Can she catch the killer before they strike again?

Set in the colourful world of early cinema, just as silent films are being replaced by talkies.

From Fiona Veitch Smith, the author of the Poppy Denby Investigates books.