A police procedural at it’s best!
Lynda La Plante
Simon & Schuster Australia
From the creator of the award-winning ITV series Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren, comes the fascinating back story of the iconic DCI Jane Tennison.
In 1972 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives. We witness her struggle to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, learning fast to deal with shocking situations with no help or sympathy from her superiors. Then comes her involvement in her first murder case. No one witnessed the savage beating of a tragic young girl who, the post-mortem reveals, was pregnant when she died. The murder enquiry is soon running cold…
I predict this will be a number one seller!
In March 2014 Lynda La Plante announced that she was returning to writing about the character she created in the Prime Suspect series which later was adapted for a very successful TV series of the same name; anyone who is over the age of thirty will immediately recognise the name DCI Jane Tennison and the name of the first victim in this series, Della Mornay.
So it goes without saying that a new book – a prequel to this series based on Jane Tennisons’s early career and life will be immensely popular. I jumped at the chance of reading and reviewing this book knowing I would be in for a treat. I wasn’t disappointed.
This is a wonderful introduction to the character many of us are already familiar with- Jane Tennison. In this book we meet WPC Jane Tennison as she embarks on her probationary period with the Metropolitan Police based at Hackney – a very violent and rough part of London at the time. The 1970’s is a time of immense change in the world in general – feminism is speaking loudly to all the world, though not necessarily being heard or embraced by all – especially not by those in such strong empires of male power – such as the police force – Jane experiences firsthand sexism, discrimination, exploitation and bullying on a daily basis. The world of policing is rapidly changing in many other areas – forensic science is forging ahead, DNA profiling is making its presence felt and crimes scenes are being read in ways not considered in the past. Criminal behaviour (on the force and in the street) is also changing – gangs are more organised, harder drugs are being touted…bribery and corruption are the norm. Jane enters a world that offers her no favours, that does not recognise her talents or her ambition but slowly her determination and intelligence is making a mark. This is the world that shaped Jane into the DCI will all grew to know and love in Prime Suspect.
By the way – I also loved the music references in this novel – especially those of Janis Joplin and The Moody Blues, the couple of tracks mentioned in the novel are favourites and instantly take me back to a different time.
Tennison is a fast moving, engaging and satisfying read. I look forward to reading the next instalment in this series.