Julian Bartholomew is in his late 30s and owns an art gallery called Bartholomew's on George in George Street, Sydney. He had always collected curios and art, and after returning from World War I, he opened up the gallery.
Bea (the daughter of Lord Ashgrove and wife of Jack Collingwood, my main character) has a love for art and has taken up sketching and watercolours. She meets Julian, and he offers her a part-time job at the gallery cataloguing artwork and curios, and Bea admires Julian's art knowledge. In fact, she finds him very appealing with his rugged looks and quiet demeanour.
Bea tells Julian that Jack is a wonderful photographer. Julian agrees to hold an exhibition of his work one evening, but what should have been a career highlight for Jack turns into a nightmare when the wife of Julian's best client is murdered.
Jack feels Julian is hiding something, and Harold Chesterfield is adamant Julian is the murderer. Harold meets Jack and Bea at the beginning of the novel. He is an Australian kiap or patrol officer in New Guinea and then comes to Sydney with Jack and Bea to take up a position as Special Constable at Sydney Central Police station. Jack and Harold have become good friends, and neither trust Julian.
Worse, they discover that Julian was a suspect in another murder in 1914, shortly before he volunteered for war. All the evidence points to Julian being more than an innocent Sydney art dealer, and Jack and Harold must work out what's going on before more murders take place.
When Julian's character came to mind, so did Alexander Skårsgard - I thought Julian would have that same boyish but sexy look about him. Keeping a photo of the actor stuck to my laptop certainly helped the writing process LOL.
I also thought Julian had more than a touch of Richard Widmark about him. I grew up (in Sydney) watching the Golden Years of Hollywood. I was glued to the TV every Saturday evening, watching Bill Collins introduce whatever classic film he'd chosen. I always loved movies when Richard Widmark was cast. He had a remarkable talent for portraying everything along the spectrum, from manic murderer to wholesome and handsome boy next door.
So, which one is Julian Bartholomew? A murderer masquerading as a respected art dealer or a man falsely accused of two murders (and possibly three!)?
All will be revealed in On Jacaranda Street - publishing March 26, 2022.