22 July 2012

Review: THE KILLINGS ON JUBILEE TERRACE, Robert Barnard - audio book


Meet the cast of Jubilee Terrace, one of the most popular soap operas on British television.
Recently, however, long-standing cast member Vernon Watts, died suddenly of a heart attack. Terrible as his death was, the production team was quick to make the most of the opportunity.

As news of Vernon's demise spreads, the show's bosses decide to bring back an old character. The infamous Hamish Fawley is all set to return, despite the disapproval of the cast. But when a suspicious letter emerges raising questions about Vernon's death and an arson attack kills two more of the cast, it would appear something sinister is afoot.

The script-writers are clearly not the only ones capable of killing off characters...

My take

An interesting plot, but the audio version is made all the more confusing by the fact that there are two sets of characters: the actors in the soapie, and the characters themselves. Some of the actors prefer their soapie personas.

I think the author struggled with this duality. The plot idea was a good one but juggling with about 20 personalities must have been a real challenge. The plot gets an extra twist when one of the people thought to have been killed in the arson attack reports for work as usual and the reader has to cope with some huge very red herrings.

Gordon Griffin the narrator does an admirable job with the voice differentiations required.

The detective in THE KILLINGS ON JUBILEE TERRACE is Charlie Peace, although interestingly Fantastic Fiction does not include it in the Charlie Peace series - surely an oversight..

My rating: 4.1

Mini -reviews of other books by Robert Barnard

A LITTLE LOCAL MURDER, publ. 1976, my rating 4.0
Radio Broadwich comes to Twytching to do a documentary about the town. Debra Withens, the town chairman's wife, assumes she will be pivotal in choosing who will be interviewed. Alison Mailer on the other hand is just as determined to be the determiner. Suddenly accusing letters are delivered to the locals and then there is death. A rather enjoyable cosy, well read by Christopher Scott. Police Inspector George Parrish makes an interesting central investigator.

DEATH OF AN OLD GOAT, publ. 1977, my rating 3.7
The very elderly Professor Belville-Smith from Oxford is contributing to the education of antipodean students of English with a lecture tour to Australia. Basically he is delivering the same lectures for which he gained a reputation 50 years ago. However someone at Drummondale, an outback New South Wales university town obviously doesn't like him and he ends up dead in his motel room with his throat cut from ear to ear. Local police inspector Royle has to interrupt his weekly schedule of local cuckolding to investigate the death.  This was Barnard's first novel and apparently based on a sojourn he had in Australia. It is semi-satirical and contains some very unkind observations about Australian life in general. It evoked both annoyance and cultural cringe in me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - It must indeed have been difficult to juggle that many personalities. As you say, the concept for the plot is really interesting and certainly has a lot of potential as an idea. Interesting that Fantastic Fiction doesn't include it in the Charlie Peace series.


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