Poppy is such an unusual book it almost defies genres. If I say it’s about police corruption, a good cop whose reputation is at stake, a teenaged dealer, a Polish convict, racial tension, murder, and revenge I’d be telling the truth, but that description gives a distorted picture of the warm, witty, character-driven confection that is Poppy. The novel is packed with rich characters and shrewd observation on human behaviour. There are scenes of lyrical beauty, some black humour (you’ll never be able to listen to Gilbert and Sullivan in quite the same way again) unexpected friendships and love in even more unexpected guises. If you love detailed, complex plots peopled with eccentric characters, give Poppy a try. And the next time a pretty teenager offers to teach you a song from G&S – RUN.