THE DIAMOND CONNECTION (Jemima Fox – Book #1)
Jemima Fox-Pearl, Head of PR at fine jewellery house Vogel, travels between London, South Africa and New York in a bid to solve the crime, while unravelling a century-old mystery of the Cullinan Diamond’s fabled missing part.
With love, intrigue, danger and disaster!
The Diamond Connection is an enthralling read,while Jemima is an exciting new heroine who readers will immediately love.
When 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 university and a year working in the press offices of both Chanel and Dior in Paris, Josie was a PR assistant for Bulgari and Ritz Fine Jewellery, before getting the job of a lifetime 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 in 2011 after the death of her mother she started 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 currently penning her fourth novel in the series – The Paris Connection.
Catch up with all Josie’s latest news at her website
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“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!!
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.
MY FAVOURITE LINES
“Yes, I know. The thing is that the Vogel Vanderpless stone appeared from nowhere. I just have a hunch … My friends would laugh as I have always wanted to be an undercover agent or something!”
“Jemima couldn’t quite believe that she was going to New York, courtesy of James’s Miss Marple-like grandmother, and they were perhaps closer to solving the mystery. If only she could get concrete proof.”
““This old Mrs Vanderpless just gets worse and worse! She sounds like something from a Danielle Steel novel!” Jemima said, her eyes wide open.”
“I am going to use some of the money I get from the reward to put myself on a proper course and also learn self-defence. I can kind of see myself as a real life Lara Croft.”
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK
With love, intrigue, danger and disaster!
I am thinking that technically speaking, this book should really be categorised as a ‘cozy mystery’, although for me personally, it was a notch or two above many of the stories I have read in that particular genre, both in its narrative and dialogue.
Several times our heroine, Jemima, refers to the talents of the great Agatha Christie, at one point comparing her older sleuthing companion, Rosemary, to a ‘Miss Marple’ character. As it was, for me Rosemary was very much the steadying influence of Miss Marple, to Jemima’s rather over enthusiastic Lara Croft style character. In fact Rosemary found out more information in one calm conversation, than Jemima did in all her dashing around and fleeting soundbites of overheard gossip.
I am very much hoping that as Jemima is set to take centre stage in any further jewellery sleuthing adventures, she makes good on her pledge to take lessons in becoming a professional Private Detective, to help calm her impulsive nature and rather off-the-cuff decisions.
All that said, I couldn’t help but like and admire Jemima’s infectious exuberance, and whilst her moral behaviour was not particularly endearing, I accept that it was all part and parcel of the set of people she worked and associated with. You obviously either needed to be a part of the crowd, or to be left behind like some maiden aunt, who was never going to progress in the job.
The trouble is, the crowd she mixed with were, to the person, a pretty reprehensible bunch of back-stabbers, all quite prepared to stand on the shoulders of someone else, to reach their ultimate goal first! There wasn’t one of them who you would trust to help you out in a crisis and in fact you couldn’t take the chance of turning your back on any of them. Josie did an excellent job of making me love to hate them!
The storyline moved along quite smoothly and quickly, with the action being well described and defined across three different countries. There were some really excellent snippets of information about diamonds and the diamond trade, which whilst full of reliable and pertinent information, didn’t come across as too preachy or patronising, and I came away from the story actually feeling that I had learned something useful and interesting about the industry.
Towards the end, it became a little obvious who the thieves really were, although I did underestimate the involvement of one or two other characters, with their hidden relationships and connections being revealed only as the final act of this play was unveiled.
I really didn’t want to have to find anything to gripe about with this book, as for a debut novel I felt it had real potential and promise and I wanted to take that forward to the next couple of stories in the series – and in that last word lies my dilemma, for whilst the thieves were indeed unmasked, this series is in fact more of a serialised set of adventures for our intrepid amateur investigator, with that final ‘dum dum dum’ moment, turning into a TBC exclamation!
Don’t let that put you off in any way, just be prepared to follow Jemima in her quest to unmask the thieves and recover the missing gems, whilst other new and equally challenging adventures will probably have a habit of cropping up along the way!
I got to hear about this series and its author via a mutual acquaintance. Having then chatted with Josie online, I decided that to avoid any conflict of interest, I should purchase the books as my review copies, which I did 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.
Although 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, some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.