Join Fiona as she takes you to various locations for the setting of the Miss Clara Vale Mysteries – while wearing vintage style clothing she made herself from original 1920s patterns. In this video she visits the Spanish City in Whitley Bay, near Newcastle upon Tyne, which is the location of the picture house that burns down with such tragic consequences in The Picture House Murders. You can read about how Fiona made her fabulous outfit here.
Fiona shot a short ‘on location’ video at the Spanish City in Whitley Bay, near Newcastle, one of the key locations in The Picture House Murders.
Fiona made the dress she is wearing from a 1927 Mrs De Pew pattern.
She loved the turquoise chiffon on the cover, but couldn’t find any suitable fabric (at a reasonable price!). So instead she chose a navy blue polyester silk. The trickiest part of the construction was the sash and flounce which are integrated with the dress and not just a draped scarf as it appears. The sash is made up of multiple pleats, a bit like a cumberbund. The draped scarf is threaded through a faux tortoiseshell buckle (found at a haberdashery shop) and sewn in place.
The hat is her own sunhat and she borrowed her daughter’s parasol. The gloves were bought a few years ago but were too sparkly white to look vintage. So she soaked them first in tea (which didn’t work well) then in strong coffee!
Hope you all agree she looked smashing!
Miss Clara Vale and I are delighted to be on the @instabooktours for The Picture House Murders! Thanks to all the Instabloggers and reviewers for taking part. Turn up the volume for this one, it will have your toes tapping! Music is ‘I’d Rather Be Blue’ by Alfredo & His Band (1929). Enjoy!
Join Fiona as she takes you to various locations for the setting of the Miss Clara Vale Mysteries – while wearing vintage style clothing she made herself from original 1920s patterns. In this second video she visits the Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne, where Clara sets a honey trap for one of the main suspects in The Picture House Murders. You can read about how Fiona made her fabulous outfit here.
As part of Fiona’s writing process, before she start writing a new book she looks for an original map from as close to the period in which she is writing as possible. It helps her to visualise the location and to be aware of the historical differences of locations from what they are now. She found this fabulous map in Reid’s Newcastle City Guide (1928). See below the main locations of The Picture House Murders and follow Clara as she solves the case.
The opening of The Picture House Murders sees Clara watching a showing of The Canary Murder Case in a Covent Garden theatre. The Canary Murder Case was one of the first ‘talkies’ to be shown in Britain, and audiences were so amazed at the voices on screen that they applauded the very first time the actors opened their mouths to speak.
You can view the film on YouTube at the link below.
The film, starring William Powell as the gentleman detective Philo Vance, was directed by Malcolm St Clair, and was an adaptation of the 1927 novel of the same name by SS Van Dine (the pseudonym for Willard Huntington Wright). Wright wrote the screenplay.
The film also stars the beautiful Louise Brooks as the Canary. In The Picture House Murders friends tell Clara she looks a little like Louise Brooks and her hairdresser convinces her to get her hair cut the same way. This is the style her mother considers ‘boyish’ in chapter 1.
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.
The Picture House Murders has received its first review appearing in the August edition of the new Writers’ Narrative Magazine. Reviewer, Wendy H. Jones says:
“I am a long-time fan of Veitch Smith’s work, particularly her Poppy Denby Mysteries. Therefore, it was with great excitement, and a little trepidation, I sat down to savour the first in her new Miss Clara Vale Mysteries. The trepidation was born of a fear that this series would not measure up to her previous series. Let me put you out of your misery and say, this one met all my expectations and then some.”
You can read the full review here. (see page 31 – 32). And you can subscribe to Writers’ Narrative yourself. It’s a free monthly online magazine – information on the back page.
It was announced in the Bookseller on 9 February 2023 that Emba Books UK had signed Fiona for a three-book deal for the first three titles in the new Miss Clara Vale Mysteries series. You can read the announcement in the Bookseller here.