Northumberland author channels love of the North East and the 1920s into new detective novel

A Northumberland author says she is “very lucky” that she was able to set her latest book in the North East ahead of its official launch this week.
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Fiona Veitch Smith will launch The Picture House Murders, which is set in Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, Newcastle, and Lindisfarne, at an event on Thursday at Newcastle City Library at 5.30pm.

Set in 1929, it will be the first in a series featuring fictional detective Clara Vale.

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Fiona said: “I have been very lucky to be able to combine my passion for the Art Deco period with my love of the region and crime writing.

Fiona Veitch Smith dressed as Clara Vale, the protagonist of her 1920s detective novel. (Photo by Fiona Veitch Smith)Fiona Veitch Smith dressed as Clara Vale, the protagonist of her 1920s detective novel. (Photo by Fiona Veitch Smith)
Fiona Veitch Smith dressed as Clara Vale, the protagonist of her 1920s detective novel. (Photo by Fiona Veitch Smith)

“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.

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

The Picture House Murders follows science buff Clara as she is bequeathed a private detective agency and laboratory following the death of an estranged uncle.

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The unexpected inheritance ends up with her solving the mystery of a death in a cinema.

Fiona was born in Northumberland and later moved to South Africa, before returning to live in Newcastle.

She has worked as a journalist, university lecturer, and in communications, as well as having written other books, such as the Poppy Denby Investigates series.