Publication: 13th October 2022 – Zaffre Books
June 1944, Romsey, England.
Josephine ‘Jo’ Fox is at an impasse since the unwelcome return of her wayward husband Richard. So, when he disappears again, she is neither concerned nor surprised – until a burning car is discovered with a body inside. And there are signs that Richard is somehow involved.
Jo is determined to find both her husband and answers, yet with her friend Bram Nash in hospital suffering an infection of his old war wound, she must do so alone. When information comes to light that implicates Bram too, Jo finds herself on a dangerous path to the truth.
But what will be left for her when all is revealed?
I am delighted to take part in the blog tour for A Conflict of Interests, the new engaging novel by Claire Gradidge.
The year is 1944 and, while in Europe the war goes on and D-day is fast approaching, in Romsey, a village in Hampshire, the remains of a burned out car are found with an unidentified body inside. While coroner Bram Nash is in hospital fighting an infection from an injury he sustained during WW1, his assistant Josephine Fox is investigating on her own. Clues found on the site make her think that her estranged husband Richard is somehow involved. But is he the killer, the victim, or just a witness?
The pace is easy and slow and there are a few unexpected surprises along the way. This is the third book in the Josephine Fox series, but it can be easily read as a stand-alone. Not having read the previous two novels of the series, I wasn’t familiar with the characters, especially Josephine and Bram’s complex relationship, but I quickly caught on and it made me eager to read the previous two books. Josephine is a smart, determined, and strong woman. Rejected by her family for being illegitimate, she’s been on her own since a young age. Her marriage with Richard has been over for a long time, even though he refuses to give her a divorce. Her feelings for Bram are strong and complicated as they won’t admit their strong attraction to each other as long as Richard is in the picture.
The story is told mostly from Josephine’s perspective as she juggles a murder investigation, her worry for Bram’s health, and the unwanted attentions of a friend of Richard. I started to have my suspicions on who the killer was halfway through the story, but I couldn’t figure out the motive. I was really engrossed in the story, excited to find out the truth and I loved how it all played out in the end.
Overall, A Conflict of Interests is a thrilling and enjoyable read with quite a few twists, a couple of intense moments, and a fantastic ending! Highly recommended!
A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.
Claire Gradidge was born and brought up in Romsey. After a career as, among other things, a nurse and a school librarian, she went to the University of Winchester, where she graduated in 2009 with a first class honours BA in Creative Writing. In January 2018, she was awarded a PhD in creative writing and The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox was written as the creative element of her PhD study. An early version of the opening 3000 words was highly commended in the Good Housekeeping Magazine competition in 2012.
She has taught at the University of Winchester as an Associate Lecturer for six years and has also had some short fictions and poems published in South, Orbis and Vortex. She has been married for 40 years and has two adult sons.