Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante

‘Prime Suspect’ is the first novel in a trilogy featuring Jane Tennison. Lynda La Plante recently released the novel ‘Tennison’ which featured the young Jane Tennison in her early days with the police force, so I have been keen to read this series – I loved the Prime Suspect TV series which starred Helen Mirren.

Tennison has been a DI in the murder squad for 18 months and is yet to be assigned her first murder case, while the other (male) DIs are overworked. Her boss doesn’t think that it’s a job for a woman and most of the other members of the squad agree. When one of the other DIs suddenly dies, there is no one but Tennison to take his case so she finally gets her chance.

She immediately finds holes in the investigation – the murder of a prostitute – and sets about fixing the investigation. Initially her approach doesn’t win her any friends among the detectives. But, by the time she gathers incontrovertible proof of their main suspect’s guilt, she has gained the respect of most of the team (and got rid of the rest).


The plot of this book was excellent but much of the writing wasn’t the best. The screenplay was written before the books, so the books read very much like a screenplay, a bit choppy and very heavy handed. Fortunately I was able to lose myself in the story.

Jane Tennison was not a very pleasant character. She was very ambitious in a male dominated world, so had to be very tough to make any progress. This had the effect of making her very non-caring and selfish. But I guess women like Jane Tennison were the drivers of what women have today.

I’m looking forward to reading the other two novels in this trilogy – ‘A Face in the Crowd’ and ‘Silent Victims’.


Book Published 1991


See a full list of books by Lynda La Plante

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, La Plante, Lynda, Series Fiction, Thriller

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