A FACE IN THE CROWD is the 2nd novel in Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect series which features DI Jane Tennison, a young woman trying to climb the ladder in the male dominated police force.
The body of a young woman has been found buried under some paving slabs in a backyard. Everyone immediately thinks of a young woman who went missing a few years earlier.
The first step is to find out when the paving was laid and who lived in the house at the time. But, even with this information, the murderer still proves to be illusive. The man who lived there claims to have been away. He is now dying and questioning him is difficult.
It isn’t until a clay model is made of the skeleton’s head that Tennison and her team start to get closer to an identity for the corpse. And it is only through studying the reactions of people who lived in the area that the team are able to get closer to the murderer.
As usual, Tennison experiences a lot of friction in her job. This time the main tensions are racial and they are not helped when a black man joins the murder team. He and Tennison got a bit close to each other in the past.
The sexism against Tennison is still there too. Not so much from her team who now respect her, but from her superiors who still doubt her abilities and go out of their way to block her advancement.
The team eventually tracks down the sexual sadist and murderer who was responsible for the buried body.
Once again this was an excellent novel but still reminiscent of a bygone (I hope) era when women had to fight for respect in a world where men thought they were so much better. It was good to see Tennison able to work with a team (most of the time) but she is still very much a loner and feels that she has to hide her emotions. I’m looking forward to meeting her again in the next novel in the series – SILENT VICTIMS.
Book Published 1993