Monday, January 20, 2020

Blue Christmas by Emma James: Reading Room Review

Author Emma Jameson is so good to her reading fans.  She promised to have Blue Christmas out at Christmas, and although Emma had other things to deal with last fall, she came through for the readers, and we had the most lovely of treats for our Christmas Day reading.  The 6th installment of the Lord and Lady Hetheridge series is a follow-up book to the devastating events of Book #5, so it's impossible to review without referring to those events and their fallout.  I always try not to spoil a book for readers, but in a series it's too often a case of one book leading to the next and building on it, and Book #6 is rooted firmly in what Tony and Kate went through and survived in the fifth book, as the events in that book had been building in previous books, too.  It's such a terrific series that reading it from Book #1 and seeing the relationship start and develop between Tony and Kate and seeing how the nefarious villain of Book #5 has taken hold in the other books is just the right way to read it.  

Tony and Kate, along with the rest of their extended family, have spent many months at their country estate, trying to heal both physically and mentally from their near-death rooftop experience atop a London building.  While Kate's physical healing was a lengthy process, it is her mental state that Tony fears will be the deterrent to a full recovery.  He convinces her to see a therapist, as well as seeing one himself, and by December, Kate has finally agreed to a week in London with Tony to see how she handles it.  Of course, ever the considerate and loving husband, Tony has leased a place with the best security measures possible.  Having Kate feel safe is key to the London trip encouraging her return her Scotland Yard job and a life in London for them all, including Tony's new enterprise of being a private detective.  It's a tall order to achieve her sense of safety, but if anyone can do it, Tony can.  

They haven't even gotten properly settled into the London house before their former investigative partner at Scotland Yard, Detective Sergeant Deepal "Paul" Bhar calls to tempt them with a bizarre murder case he's just landed.  Surprisingly, Kate is interested, not to say she's agreed to come back to work, but wanting to become involved in this most interesting murder.  Tony agrees to come onto the case as a hired consultant, since he's no longer employed as a Chief Superintendent by Scotland Yard.  But the three of them are friends as well as colleagues, so it's good to have them back together again.  The pièce de résistance that Paul dangles in front of Tony and Kate to come on board is the method of the murder of miserly millionaire Barnaby Galen.  The murder weapon is a horror prop of a skeleton dressed as a "granny," and it's pop-up appearance has apparently scared the old miser to death.  Paul knows they won't be able to resist working on such a case, and he is absolutely right.  

Emma Jameson has created such a wonderful cast of characters in this series, and while Blue Christmas focuses mostly on Kate and Tony and Paul, the other characters are mentioned, and we know that they are just around the corner waiting to all be together in another story.  Tony's and Kate's relationship is the glue that holds it all together, and it is such a model of respect, consideration, and love for each other.  Their romantic moments are aptly placed and appreciated, as readers want them to enjoy the fruits of their labor, their working on a beautiful love story.  Paul Bhar provides much comic relief in the series, with his love life and his mother, who is a romance author and is relentless about looking out for her son.  Paul may just surprise his mother in this current book.  Kate's brother and sister and nephew have all become a part of her and Tony's family, and it speaks volumes as to Tony's love for Kate and his character as a person that he has accepted them all so graciously.  Even Tony's staff make for interesting characters and parts of different stories.  And, the villains in the stories are fascinating, too, although readers are always glad to see them felled.  With the characters and the setting and the stories, this is a series that will quickly become a favorite, one you will even want to reread .

So, once again, well done Emma Jameson, and thank you for your most welcome 2019 Christmas gift!  Blue Christmas was the icing on my holiday season.  Did I mention that the ending brought sweet tears to my eyes?  It did.

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