Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect series featured the tough hardened DCI Jane Tennison. ‘Tennison’ has been written as a prequel to the Prime Suspect series, taking us back to the 1970s when Jane was a young probationer based in Hackney. I haven’t read the Prime Suspect books (yet) but loved the TV series starring Helen Mirren. It’s a shame that Mirren won’t be able to play the young Jane.
In the 1970s, female police officers didn’t come close to being treated equally. They were paid less for the same job, treated as tea ladies, given the more mundane jobs and subjected to constant verbal sexual harassment and groping. The young Jane quickly befriends fellow WPC Kath Morgan who helps her avoid some of the pitfalls.
But both Jane and Kath quickly prove their worth when assigned work on the edges of a murder enquiry. DI Len Bradfield soon has both WPCs away from the front desk and involved in more challenging work (but still filing, typing and fetching tea).
Jane becomes involved in two cases, the murder of a young woman and a robbery. It is through the intelligent work of both Jane and Kath that both these cases are brought to a conclusion.
Along the way, Jane moves away from her family (with whom she has very little in common) into police accommodation and soon discovers the positive and negative aspects of living out of home – including being introduced to people ready to take advantage of her naivety.
The end of the story is tragic and Jane learns some important lessons. It’s easy to see how she progressed from the end of this book to the tough DCI in the Prime Suspect series.
I loved this book. Over the last couple of books Lynda La Plante has been getting better and better and each year I look forward to her next book. This one was so enjoyable that I’m now planning to read the three books in the Prime Suspect series – ‘Prime Suspect’, ‘A Face in the Crowd’ and ‘Silent Victims’.
Book Published 2015