Robert Barnard, The Killings on Jubilee Terrace Reviews

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“The Killings on Jubilee Terrace ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 12/03/2009

The Killings on Jubilee Terrace
Robert Barnard
Scribner, May 5 2009, $24.00
ISBN: 1416559426

Jubilee Terrace remains the second most popular soap opera in England in spite of being on the air for years. Actors come and go; almost always either being released or quitting for another job. However, top star Vernon Watts accidentally is hit by a bus. To appease upset viewers, Reggie Friedman brings back Hamish Fawley on the show; Hamish plays Cyril Wharton, who came home to die from TB.

Bet Garrett and Hamish pretend to marry and threaten to gain custody of her three children. She does not want her brats, but her husband Bill, who also performs on the show, actually wants his offspring so she uses her daughters as an extortion device. Bill believes his wife and Hamish are deceitful and is unable to let go of his his seething rage. Someone kills Hamish and his latest chippie and rumors spread that Watts' seemingly accidental death was no accident. Leeds Inspector Charlie Peace, who thinks soap is to wash hands, investigates in what seems to him as if he stars as Alice in Wonderland without the benefit of the rabbit or the looking glass. He struggles with separating TV persona from real personalities as everyone seems to perform all the time. In terms of Hamish, he quickly realizes everyone had a strong motive to see the final curtain fall on the nasty actor playing his last role.

Most of the novel takes the reader back stage behind the scenes of a soap opera so they think they get to know the key characters rather quickly; albeit with the same problem Peace has as the reader wonders whether they are seeing the real person or a role. The investigation is intense, but takes a long time to solve. No one will care as Charlie plays second fiddle, which adds freshness to the wonderful police procedural series; as Robert Barnard shines a deep spotlight behind the TV wall where acrimony and backstabbing are not hidden behind a performance.

Harriet Klausner

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