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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

“The protagonists of my novels”
‘The Jemima Fox Mysteries’
by Josie Goodbody
First lines/Guest Post

As there is no organized Blog Tour for this series, and I hopefully plan to read the three books back to back, I hope you don’t mind me taking the liberty of extending this ‘Book Beginnings On Friday’ post to include first lines from all three stories, together with this lovely Guest Post from their author Josie Goodbody.

For all you ‘First Page Browsers’

Cover Image of the book 'The Diamond Connection' by author Josie Goodbody

THE DIAMOND CONNECTION

BOOK BEGINNINGS / FIRST LINES

Prologue – October 1953 – Rethabiseng, Pretoria, South Africa

Irene du Plessis heard shouting coming from her husband’s office at the other side of the house. She reluctantly got up from her faded chintz armchair, where she had been sipping an iced tea and reading the latest issue of Vogue. The latest being June 1953 and was sent by her younger cousin Louise, who had emigrated to America. Every parcel Louise sent also contained a letter telling Irene she should emigrate too.

December 2010 – London

Jemima was waiting on the ground floor of Vogel House for the lift which would take her five floors up to the press office. As per usual it was taking forever. She pulled her BlackBerry out of her black Christian Dior bag and began tapping away frantically. She wanted to finish the email that she had started on the bus.

Cover Image of the book 'The Christmas Connection' by author Josie Goodbody

THE CHRISTMAS CONNECTION 

BOOK BEGINNINGS / FIRST LINES

Chapter One – 16th October 1946 – Mayfair, London

The Duchess of Windsor stepped out of the double doors of Cartier onto Old Bond Street. Small, slender and yet somehow imposing with her angular face and immaculately dressed figure. She was followed by the harassed person of Jean-Jacques Cartier, himself piled high with her bags. Striding across the pavement, with a few clicks of her narrow crocodile skin heels, she stepped up into a sleek black Bentley. Monsieur Cartier barely had time to arrange the bags on the seat next to her, when without so much as turning her head to acknowledge his farewell. the Duchess had ordered her departure. “Driver, to Claridge’s.”

Cover Image of the book 'The Monte Carlo Connection' by author Josie Goodbody

THE MONTE CARLO CONNECTION

BOOK BEGINNINGS / FIRST LINES

Prologue – April 1956 – Monaco

Margo Peters heard the cacophony of ships’ horns from her cabin. She was still piling the clothes, creams, and other paraphernalia that had been strewn over the small, two bunkbed compartment during the past week into her suitcase. Lastly, she took a blue cloth bag, hidden under a rather this mattress, and gazed into it. Her mother had lent her a beautiful riviere diamond necklace, a matching pair of earrings, and a little diamond and emerald ring on the strictest instructions, that she keep them locked in a safe at the apartment where Margo would be staying for the next week. Mrs Henry Peters III had read stories of what the newspapers were dubbing ‘The Snow Leopard’, a cunning cat burglar who had come to the public’s attention when jewellery went missing in a smart seaside resort in Montenegro in 1954. It was reported that he would be heading to Monte Carlo for the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. And Patricia Peters did not want her diamonds being stolen. Margo couldn’t help but think that if this thief was going to be out and about, there were sure to be much more important jewels out there than her mother’s.

Image of author Josie Goodbody

Welcome to author

 JOSIE GOODBODY

A few things that my readers might like to know about me and jewels – 

The protagonists of my novels!

“I absolutely love fine jewellery, gemstones and the stories surrounding them – I’m fascinated about unknown mysteries (like the ones in my novels) so please let me know of any that I might have missed!!

I read French at Exeter University – my wonderful tutor, Dr Elizabeth Woodrough, was also JK Rowling’s tutor 15 years earlier.

Whilst at university I spent a year in Paris where I worked in the press offices for Chanel and Christian Dior. At the latter, I learnt a lot about jewellery from Victoire de Castellane who had just launched the maison’s fine jewellery collections. I spent many weekends walking around Rue de la Paix and Place Vendome gazing at the window displays of diamond and other gemstone jewellery from the most famous jewellery maisons such as Cartier, Van Cleef, Chaumet and the oldest fine jeweller in the world – Mellerio, who made jewels for Queen Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine.

My first job out of university was for a small PR agency in London, we looked after Bulgari and we organised the launch of Fay Weldon’s book The Bulgari Connection in 2001. Could you say that I ‘plagiarised’ her use of the word connection in my Jemima Fox series?! However, then I was lucky enough to meet the author and have a few one on one masterclasses with her in her lovely house in Shaftesbury, Dorset – near to where I grew up, told her of the deed and she was happy with the emulation! In fact, she gave a few masterclasses in writing.

My great great grand aunt was Theresa Marchioness of Londonderry – she had a huge collection of jewellery, much of which is in the Bollinger (jewellery) Rooms at the V&A London. The Londonderry Tiara, which is on display, was worn by her at the Coronation of Edward VII… unfortunately when she went to the bathroom at Buckingham Palace following the service at Westminster Abbey, the tiara fell off her head and into the loo! Her portrait, wearing many of her jewels, is on the wall outside the jewellery rooms.

Another illustrious ancestor was Beatrix Potter and like many English children I grew up listening and reading her stories.

I lived in Monaco for a year in 2011 and had the most beautiful apartment overlooking the sea – this is where I started The Monte Carlo Connection, although I wrote two novels before completing and publishing it. The year that I spent there gave me lots of inspiration and ideas for the story.

One of my favourite places to read a good book is while soaking in the bath – I have just had a baby and sometimes, locked away in the bathroom when she and my son are asleep, is the only time I still get to read!

When I gave birth to my daughter a fortnight ago, I wore a pink sapphire and diamond ring that my mother had given me before she died… I intend to give it to my daughter, one day. Pink sapphires are filled with love energy and power, they are often called the “intelligence stone”, and are supposed to bestow wisdom on their owner.”

A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City Reader

You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers. There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
    • Hi Cora,

      I couldn’t make up my mind which of the opening lines I liked the best and I don’t really want to have a ‘favourite’ as such, but I am most taken by ‘The Christmas Connection’ and the Duchess of Windsor.

      Josie also has such an interesting biography of her own, with which to back up and authenticate the storylines.

      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment 🙂

  • I do think this is an interesting concept and don’t know that I’ve read any novels in which the entire series revolves around famous jewelry. Do I understand correctly that these stories focus on real life mysteries?

    I appreciate fine jewelry and have a few nice pieces (thanks to a generous aunt and grandmother), but also enjoy fun costume jewelry or that made with semi-precious stones. My favorite jewelry items are earrings, since what little else I wear is always the same.

    • In her previous biographical segment, Josie is quoted as saying …

      “This series of books, is based on real life mysteries of the jewellery world – particularly when jewels have gone missing or being stolen. People I talk to seem to be as fascinated as me by the mysteries and indeed histories of jewels. So I wanted to create a series of books which bring both to life, as well as the sumptuous surroundings of the books’ settings.”

      So safe to say, I think there is going to be quite a good mix of fact and fiction, as Josie is passionate about her gems.

      The only book I have read about the art world, but not specifically jewellery, is ‘The Art Thief’ by Noah Charney. As this is one of the first reviews I ever wrote, please excuse the quality of the writing and the dodgy links which it might include, should you decide to check it out! This book met with quite a lot of negativity, as it was felt generally that Noah was too intent on the factual elements of events and failed to weave them into a very convincing and interesting storyline. He seems to have kept to writing non-fiction since then, which is a bit of a shame …

      https://www.fiction-books.biz/reviews/the-art-thief-by-noah-charney-3/

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend 🙂

      • I knew the title sounded familiar and I see from my comment on that review that it’s somewhere way down my wish list! I might have to bump it near the top so it might stand a greater chance of moving to the TBR.

        While I’ve read random mysteries dealing with art thefts, the only series dealing with art that I’ve read is the Art History Mystery series by Iain Pears. They’re quite a change from his later work, but equally enjoyable.

        • Even though some people were very critical about ‘The Art Thief’, I actually quite enjoyed it and think it a real shame that Noah didn’t attempt to hone his technique a little and continue with his fiction writing career. From reading his bio. at the time though, I got the feeling that he might not have taken criticism of his work very well!!

    • Hi! Margaret, it is great to ‘meet’ you and thanks for taking the time to visit and comment, I appreciate it 🙂

      It isn’t too often that I would feature anything more than a single book in any of the regular memes in which I participate, however I really needed to publish Josie’s Guest Post fairly promptly, as she made the birth of her new daughter quite central to her piece, making it very time sensitive. Therefore, to flesh the story out a little, using the ‘First Lines’ from each of the books in the Jemima Fox series, seemed quite appropriate.

      With such unique and interesting storylines, I hope to get stuck into the series very soon.

      Have a lovely weekend and Happy Reading 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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