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‘The Christmas Connection’
by Josie Goodbody
Review

 

THE CHRISTMAS CONNECTION (Jemima Fox Mysteries – Book #2)

Cover Image of the book 'The Christmas Connection' by author Josie GoodbodyJemima Fox-Pearl, Head of PR at fine jewellery house Vogel, travels to Fairfax Park in the depths of Dorset, South-West England, for Christmas.

Whilst there she discovers the story of the Duchess of Windsor’s stolen jewels and solves the mystery of their whereabouts, in a thrilling race against the clock on Christmas Eve.

With tiaras, white tie dinners, a kidnapping and horse chases through the snow. 

The Christmas Connection is the ultimate Christmas mystery.

JOSIE GOODBODY

Image of author Josie GoodbodyWhen Josie was quite young her mother took her to London’s V&A Museum. She fell in love with the jewellery department there and much later found out that several of the pieces that she had so admired, had in fact belonged to an ancestor, the great aunt of her paternal grandmother, Theresa, the Marchioness of Londonderry. The Londonderry Tiara which is on display, was worn by the Marchioness at the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 at Westminster Abbey.

After attending Exeter University, reading French Literature & Language, followed by a year working in the press offices of both Chanel and Dior in Paris, Josie became PR assistant for Bulgari and Ritz Fine Jewellery, before getting the job of a lifetime in South Africa, with Graff Diamonds, as Head of PR. While there, she was lucky enough to be taught everything there is to know about diamonds and precious gemstones, by the king of diamonds, Laurence Graff. Of course this only enhanced her love affair with fine jewellery.

Having spent almost fifteen years working in PR, Josie moved to Monaco and following the death of her mother she started writing The Monte Carlo Connection to help heal her pain. It is loosely based on her 10 months living on the Riviera and her years in jewellery PR, first portrayed in The Diamond Connection and The Christmas Connection. Josie had always wanted to write novels – having spent years reading innumerable books and decided to start with what she knew best and loved most – jewels, and their mysterious stories.

Her novels purposefully describe and depict jewellery as beautifully and truthfully as possible. She wanted to include elements of the industry or specific gemstones, where her readers would pick up pieces of information that they might not otherwise know. This series of books, is based on real life mysteries of the jewellery world – particularly when jewels have gone missing or being stolen.

Josie currently lives on a large farm in Wiltshire with her husband and family. She is penning her fourth novel in the series – The Paris Connection, whist still carrying out some copywriting projects for various luxury brands – including The De Beers Group and Forevermark.

Visit Josie at her website

Follow Josie on Twitter

Connect with Josie on Facebook

“Be really passionate about what you write about. Start with a subject that you know inside out. You need to be the expert about your content. It’s quite lonely writing a book, so you need to love your content, as it is this that will get you through writer’s block.”

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

FIRST LINE

“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.”

Check out the extended opening lines and read author, Josie Goodbody’s excellent Guest Post, “The protagonists of my novels”,  here..

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

MEMORABLE LINES 

“They trooped into the hall, and Jemima stripped off her damp things in the boot room while no one was looking. She instantly regretted it – casting around she realised there wasn’t so much as a spare pair of jeans to put on. Oh God, I can’t solve this mystery dressed just in my knickers! she thought desperately.”

.

“There was a dramatic pause. ‘Granny,’ said Flora after a moment. ‘Were you a spy?’ ‘Well if that’s what you want to call it,’ Granny Tinkerbell sipped the brandy placidly. ‘I prefer to think I was just one of a group of friends who kept an eye on another group of friends, in case they fell in with the wrong sort.'”

.

“She turned the envelope back over. There on the front, in Granny Tinkerbell’s elegant slanted writing, was written: ‘A future mystery – should life take you to Monaco?'”

Check out extended ‘teaser’ lines from the book, here..

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

MY REVIEW

The Ultimate Christmas Mystery Novella

Okay! so I realise that May isn’t technically Christmas. However, I am not a stickler for seasonal reading and this short novella is sandwiched between two of the full length novels, in a series I would like to read in chronological order.

I am also not generally a huge fan of the short story or novella, as I find they can often only offer me a taster of a promising storyline, which is then cut abruptly short, leaving me wanting more and feeling somehow cheated.

BUT NO! This was one short story which held my attention throughout, had me completely engrossed in the storyline, with an ending which left me satisfied and longing to move on to the next book in the series!

The back story to current events, was laid out clearly, concisely, yet in great detail, within the first few pages. A delicious mix of fact and fiction, bringing an important time in the social history of the British Royal family to life, written with author Josie Goodbody’s obvious passion and exuberance for her subject – jewels.

The ending was an enticing taster of what possibilities lay in store in the next instalment of the Jemima Fox series, yet at the same time rounded off this stand alone story to perfection, without any loose ends.

What came in between, was an intoxicating and engaging romp through the drawing rooms and across the estate grounds of this quintessentially English, titled family, where there were personal secrets a plenty, a past mystery involving some missing Royal jewels, and a would be thief who needed to be unmasked in true 21st Century Agatha Christie style!

Some crisp, witty and extremely sharp narration and dialogue, kept the plot moving along at a gentle trot, with Jemima seemingly always a few steps behind the pace of the action. Yet in true Agatha Christie style, she was obviously working through the crime motive and suspect list all the time, culminating in the obligatory, whole cast gathering, big reveal at the end, when the culprit is unmasked and the long held secrets of some members of the family are uncovered.

One half of me was screaming that I already knew who the culprit was, long before Jemima seemed to. However, as with so many fictional detectives, there was that additional missing piece of information, which only she had managed to work out, and which, when revealed, brought the whole story to a satisfying climax and tied up all the loose ends.

A page-turning story to escape into, which passed an enforced garden afternoon, in a delightful way!

 

Image of author Josie Goodbody

A kindle download of this book, was purchased by me, from Amazon.co.uk

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 4 out of 5 stars!

 

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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10 comments
  • This sounds like such a fun series. (I just checked it out on Goodreads as neither the author nor her books appear to be on Fantastic Fiction.) Quite an unusual idea to base an entire series on jewellry theft but it sounds like it works as they appear to be very popular. Really pleased you enjoyed it, Yvonne.

    • Hi Cath,

      I’m not too sure how large an organisation Fantastic Fiction is and how an author goes about getting themselves listed on the site. Generally, it is really up to date and I do rely on it quite a lot, as unlike Goodreads, you can see all of an author’s books on one page, in chronological order.

      I am not a huge jewellery wearer, or very knowledgeable about it, however it is a real passion for Josie and that comes across in her writing, without it being too ‘preachy’ or technical. The stories themselves are very reminiscent of a modern day Agatha Christie in their style of narrative and indeed, quite fun to read!

      There is one more book for me to read in the series to date, although I believe that Josie has written a fourth book, which is due out imminently.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment on this rather dreary Sunday and have a good evening 🙂

  • This does sound like a fun, clever series that I would probably enjoy. Maybe someday I’ll get to it.

    Like you, I don’t mind reading Christmas books out of season (just don’t ask me to play Christmas music at the same time!). As for novellas… I do enjoy them, especially when based on characters I already know from a standing series, therefore no lack of development on that part.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Yes! This series is really slightly quirky, a little too sophisticated to be described as ‘cozy’, but with storylines which are not too heavy or disturbing, quite a unique style!

      My next book in the series is set in Monte Carlo and I believe the fourth episode in the Jemima Fox cases, is going to take place in Paris, so I am expecting plenty of style and panache in those two storylines.

      I am not generally a big fan of short stories as those are the kind of things I can get in any good magazine these days, however this slightly longer novella length story wasn’t too bad for a sunny lockdown afternoon in the garden and it meant that I could continue to read the series in order -(and before you say it, I know that will be a first for me!) 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Mary,

      I never thought of checking out an author’s writing style by sampling a novella if they have written one. What an excellent idea and one I shall remember from now on!

      I do like a book to have an engaging opening, a strong storyline and a definitive ending, so if the author can achieve all three of those things in a novella length story, then that bodes well for a full length novel.

      Josie manages that really well ‘The Christmas Connection’, although I was surprised that she published the novella after the first full length story was out in the marketplace. I’m enjoying the series so far though, which is the most important thing!

      Thanks for visiting today, I always appreciate your comments and I hope that you are staying safe and well 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      I must admit that I don’t tend to stick to seasonal reading, especially if I am at the stage of working my way through my TBR pile, or I have author / publisher review requests.

      In this particular case ‘The Christmas Connection’ was the second book in a three part series of Jemima Fox adventures, and even though they all work perfectly well as stand alone stories, I wanted to read them in chronological order. This novella is also the only one which is in this format, as the episodes either side of it, are full length novels.

      I managed to read this one in a single sitting and thoroughly enjoyed the journey it took me on, so I can recommend it if you want to while away a couple of leisurely hours and come away satisfied and entertained!

      I hope that all is well in your lockdown world and that you are staying safe 🙂

  • Glad you enjoyed this short Christmas mystery! It does sound like fun. I like the quotes you shared. And speaking of spending enforced garden afternoons, I can relate to that. I’ve finished two books out in the yard these past few weeks myself.

    • Hi Naida,

      The last quote was probably the best for me, as it lets me know that there is already an intriguing case waiting for Jemima in Monte Carlo, when she arrives there in the next episode of her journey.

      As I now know that there is a fourth book in the series coming out very soon, and that this is to be set in Paris, I am hoping for some serious jewellery to be featured in both the storylines!

      I am not very ‘au fait’ with the jewellery trade or market, however Josie does a great job of blending fact and fiction and she is so passionate about her subject, that the words simply fly off the page!

      Thanks for stopping by and I assume that as you are visiting midweek, then you are still working from home and staying safe 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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