The Cairo Brief

by Fiona Veitch Smith

Part of the Poppy Denby Investigates Series

Crime and Mystery Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel

LoveReading Expert Review of The Cairo Brief

Take a wonderfully compelling trip into the 1920’s in this fascinating murder mystery.

An entirely charming, fascinating murder mystery set in the Golden Age Twenties. The Cairo Brief is the fourth in the simply fabulous 'Poppy Denby Investigates’ series. Poppy is invited to attend a country house for the auction of an Egyptian mask… murder, curses and general skulduggery await her keen investigative skills. While this could potentially be read as a standalone, I do recommend starting at the beginning of the series with the wonderful The Jazz Files which was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Endeavour Historical Dagger Award. Fictional characters mingle quite beautifully with historical figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Howard Carter and Emmeline Pankhurst. I adore Poppy, she’s intelligent, progressive, and knows her own mind. Fiona Veitch Smith’s descriptive detailing is just gorgeous, the dresses sparkle, the cars zip (or putter) along, and historical facts pepper and blend in with the storyline. Just perfect if you love to visit a bygone era, The Cairo Brief is a teasingly delicious and wonderfully readable mystery. 

Liz Robinson

The Cairo Brief Synopsis

Intrepid reporter sleuth Poppy Denby is invited to attend the auction of the Death Mask of Nefertiti. The auction is to be held on the country estate of Sir James Maddox, a famous explorer and Egyptologist. Representatives of the world's leading museums will be bidding on the mask which was found, in Egypt, under murderous circumstances. Poppy and her colleagues from The Daily Globe, who are trying to stay one step ahead of their rivals from The London Courier, dismiss rumours of an ancient curse. But when one of the auction party is murdered, and someone starts stalking Poppy, the race is on to find the killer before 'the curse' can strike again.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781782642497
Publication date: 21st September 2018
Author: Fiona Veitch Smith
Publisher: Lion Fiction an imprint of Lion Hudson Plc
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Primary Genre Crime and Mystery
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What To Read After The Cairo Brief

How to Kidnap the Rich
Narrowing the Field
The Killing Room

The Cairo Brief Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith is the fourth outing in the 'Poppy Denby Investigates' series and my first foray into this popular set of stories.

The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith is the fourth outing in the 'Poppy Denby Investigates' series and my first foray into this popular set of stories.

Set in my favourite fictional period of time - the roaring twenties - Agatha Christie fans will be addictively drawn to Poppy Denby, being a stereotypical character she would normally incorporate in her books. The author is an excellent writer and captures the era of the time perfectly, with dialogue, actions and surroundings depicted spot on making it wholly atmospheric of the 1920's.

Egyptian archaeological digs and finds have always interested me and the fact the story revolved around the auction of the cursed Death Mask of Nefertiti made it all the more intriguing for me. When one of the members of the auction party is murdered and someone starts stalking Poppy, there's a race against time to find the killer...

I loved all the characters and it was nice to see some real-life historical people incorporated, like the famed archaeologist Howard Carter and even a cameo role from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle too.

Having read and fully enjoyed this entertaining mystery, I do intend to seek out the other books in the Poppy Denby series and will continue to follow the arts and entertainment editor turned investigator in the future.

Miriam Smith

A great mystery written in the 21st century but set in the roaring twenties, Poppy Denby is the new Miss Marple. A well researched old fashioned mystery.

This popped through my letterbox on Friday and by this afternoon I had snuggled down in my armchair and read this interesting mystery.

This is book 4 of the Poppy Denby books and can be read as a standalone story.

Set in the 20s Poppy is a journalist gets caught up a masks curse, then there is a murder. This is Agatha Christie written in a modern age set in the 20s.

Well researched and as a fan of the British Museum and Egyptology this was right up my street. Who owns these artefacts made me think of today and the Elgin collection -the same issues today.

The roaring twenties, country estate setting atmospheric and the reader is transported back to a different age.

Recommended with an excellent plot which keeps the reader hanging on till the end - a thoroughly good read.

Jane Brown

Enjoyable cozy mystery romp, well researched and intriguing!

This book is fourth in the series of cozy period crime mysteries with leading heroine Poppy Denby investigating. Haven't read any of her adventures before, but now I wish I had! It's a very well set piece of Roaring Twenties cozy mystery with a lovely Ancient Egypt thrown in as a bonus. You really feel the time it is set in, great details and little characters you feel like you have always known. Reads very well and gives a lovely, cozy feeling indeed. Nice camp story with lots of fun bits and a gentle mystery with a bit of a twist. Nicely done!

Agnieszka Higney

A charming country house murder mystery set in the roaring 20s.

This is the fourth book in Fiona Veitch Smith's 'Poppy Denby' series of murder mysteries. Poppy is a journalist and amateur sleuth based in 1920s London. I haven't read any of these books before and I was impressed at the way that you are transported to that period in time. In particular, I could really feel the emotional after-effects of the 1914-18 war on all of the characters.

The theme of this story is the discovery and dubious acquisition of an ancient Egyptian artefact in an archaeological dig, but really the book is a country house murder mystery set in the 1920s. I thought that the scene-setting and the historical details were very good, but found the story itself a little slow for my taste. There are a huge number of characters and it felt as though the author was constantly re-introducing them throughout the book, rather than picking up the pace of the story. However, the parts of the story set in Egypt (both at the start and near the end of the book) were very engaging and I think these sections could have been developed a little more.

Overall this is a charming tale, a period murder mystery with a great final resolution. The story takes place at Christmas, making this a potential seasonal gift for someone who likes historical crime fiction.

Annie Day

Fiona Veitch Smith Press Reviews

Poppy Denby is on top form solving the mystery surrounding the ancient Egyptian mask of Queen Nefertiti. Highly recommended!

Dolores Gordon-Smith, author of the Jack Haldean murder mysteries

Intrepid Poppy Denby visits a country estate not unlike Downton Abbey in this caper. It's great fun following Fiona's crew of early 20th-century reporters as they seek scoops and solve murders on the side.

Deb Richardson-Moore, author of The Cantaloupe Thief, The Cover Story and Death of a Jester

Thoroughly enjoyable mystery. Murders, sinister figures, a cursed Egyptian mask - and a seance! All the ingredients for another superlative Poppy Denby investigation.

A. J. Wright, award-winning author of the Lancashire Detective series

Fiona Veitch Smith, where have you been all my life? Poppy Denby is delightful, the plot rocks, and the 1920s era is perfectly evoked. British mystery fans, you want to read this. You really, really do.

Cassandra Chan, author of the Bethancourt and Gibbons mysteries

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781782642497
Publication date: 21/09/2018
Format: Paperback

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About Fiona Veitch Smith

Formerly a journalist, Fiona Veitch Smith is now an author of books for adults and children. She has also written theatre plays and screenplays. Her adult mystery series set in the 1920s, Poppy Denby Investigates, is published by Lion Fiction. The first book in the series, The Jazz Files, is a nominee for the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Endeavour Historical Dagger award, 2016. The second, The Kill Fee, was published in September 2016. For more on the Poppy Denby Investigates series including background material on the 1920s, film reels, period fashion and fabulous jazz recordings visit

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