Rupert Smith

"Service Wash"

(Reviewed by Tony Ross JUL 15, 2007)

Service Wash by Rupert Smith

This bit of fluff is just the kind of trashy fun that's made for the beach. The plot revolves around Paul, a struggling London novelist who is commissioned to ghostwrite a celebrity autobiography. This assignment, while distasteful to his intellectual sensibilities, is lucrative enough for him to swallow his pride. The celeb in question is Eileen Weathers, the 50something star of a long-running East Enders type soap. Six Books, the publishing arm of Channel Six, is looking to do a little cross-branding, but unfortunately her 40 page "manuscript" is a single run-on sentence... Enter Paul.

Since Smith has himself written a few novels, ghosted an autobiography, and worked on several TV show tie-in books, he's well positioned to tell this tale. Naturally, Paul's ghostwriting job turns into something larger, as he gets entangled in Eileen's life and her studly assistant Danny's bedsheets. Caught up in the squalid glamour of second-rate TV star scandals, and Eileen's murky East End past (gangsters, stripping, possible sex-change operation), Paul is taken for the unlikeliest of rides, culminating in a murder trial.

To be sure, Smith hasn't set himself the hardest of tasks in mocking the follies of TV production, celebrity publishing, and gossip rag demimonde. This kind of satire is like shooting fish in a barrel, and Smith gleefully blazes away . Of course, most readers will see the twists coming long before Paul does, but that's presumably part of the fun. It's all totally trashy, but relatively enjoyable trash -- at least until the very end, which suffers from a very lame ending.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 1 review

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Bibliography: (with links to


As a Ghostwriter:

  • Life's Not Hollywood, It's Cricklewood (2003)
  • Awight Now! (2006)


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Book Marks:


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About the Author:

Rupert SmithRupert Smith was born in Washington DC in 1960, and grew up in Surrey. After graduating with a BA in English, he continued his studies at the University of London and in 1986 completed his PhD in theatre history. He is a regular television critic and feature writer for the Guardian (see examples of his work), and he writes on all aspects of television, arts and entertainments for a wide variety of publications including Radio Times and Gay Times.

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