Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Good Friday – Lynda La Plante

Crime Fiction
5*s

Reading Good Friday I realised how much great crime fiction I’ve missed out on by somehow eschewing Lynda La Plante’s previous books. Indeed it was only the pull of going back to the 1970s that persuaded me to watch the recent TV series Prime Suspect 1973 which I think covers the first book, Tennison: Prime Suspect 1973. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed the TV series so when I was offered this book, I was delighted to accept and prepared myself for a trip back to 1975 when the IRA were active in the UK.

By the time this, the third in the prequels to the Jane Tennsion series, opens Jane is now a Detective working out of Bow Street in London. She’s feeling a little frustrated at being given the lowly jobs and seeking a way to find a route to a more exciting future. She’s still young, still very much trying to break free from her parent’s expectations but old enough to be tiring of life in the Section house. One morning after she’s climbed up the steps at Covent Garden Station (the lift was out of order otherwise unless you want to have the life sucked out of your lungs on the dizzy climb up the spiral staircase, you don’t attempt that climb, I’ve done it once and said never again!) she sees a woman shouting after a man who has left a rucksack. Sadly the rucksack contains a bomb that goes off and Jane immediately is caught up in the aftermath of tending to the injured.

                        Covent Garden Staircase

It is interesting to see that despite being set over forty years ago, the media play a key role in the story. Although Jane is clear that she didn’t get a proper view of the suspected bomber, she goes to a press conference where an e-fit picture is given to the press. Unsurprisingly this puts Jane not only in the firing line of the media attention, but also potentially compromises her own safety.

Through all the mayhem, trauma and fear that follows the bomb explosion, Jane’s new boss in CID is adamant that she should attend the annual CID dinner at St Ermin’s Hotel, so she has a posh dress to find. All of this lends a somewhat congruous edge to the hunt for the bomber as I’m used to reading books where no-one gets leave, certainly time to prepare for a dinner wouldn’t be top priority, and yet in some ways it felt realistic, Jane after all, despite being important as a witness is not part of the main investigation.

                    St Ermin’s Hotel

As well as the investigation into the bombing we see Jane move away from the Section House into a small flat of her own, complete with disasterous room-mate. We see the stringent rules imposed by the Police Service on its officers at that time, and we also get a glimpse of what life was like for a young woman in the capital during the 1970s. Jane hasn’t yet got the steely edge she will acquire later on, but she does show us some of the tenacity and brilliant thinking which will emerge into the light later in her life. Alongside this there is some ingenious plotting so which had me turning the pages faster than the speed of… well as fast as I could read them!

This was a brilliant read by an author whose work I will be belatedly seeking out during 2018 and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy of Good Friday, this review is my unbiased thanks to them and to Lynda La Plante for a wonderful read.

First Published UK: 24 August 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
No. of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

20 thoughts on “Good Friday – Lynda La Plante

  1. Ever since being mesmerised by the original Prime Suspect TV series when I was a teenager, Lynda la Plante has been one of my favourite authors. The original Prime Suspect books are brilliant as is the Anna Travis series.

  2. I know what you mean, Cleo, about authors you’ve not read in the past, but are now glad you did. I’ve had that happen, too. It’s good to hear you enjoyed this one; I think La Plante writes very well, and has created some strong characters. And I have to say, I always enjoyed Prime Suspect on television…

    1. I’m not quite sure why I avoided her books before, I just had a feeling they weren’t for me which unaccountably persisted as I became more enamoured with crime fiction. I have caught odd episodes of Prime Suspect but never followed the series so I have a clean slate to start with now – if only I had more time to read 😉

  3. I really enjoy Lynda LaPlante’s writing. Several years ago, back when Helen Mirren first made Tennison famous, I went and binged read many of her titles. Haven’t read anything of hers in recent years, but your post reminds me that I should.

    1. I’m lucky I have her entire back catalogue to discover now although I’m debating whether to read the previous one in this 1970s version of Jane Tennison or wait for it to be on TV… bookworm choices!

  4. Now I am curious! I do like books set during the 1970s, especially when there are political issues…and I also enjoy when the author offers a peek into other aspects of life for the characters, including attending a posh dinner. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Fab review! But oh, dear, dear, dear! This sounds too good to resist! You’ve done it to me again… 🤬I hope the lift’s broken next time you’re in Charing Cross… *stomps off*

    1. Me??
      I loved it although Jane is a little naïve at this point but she’s young and living in a different era.
      Now have to decide whether to buy the previous book in this series or to wait to watch it on TV or I could just read some of her earlier fiction – or both! Tough choices although far more desirable than ever walking up those stairs again!

  6. As weird as it sounds, I think you’re right that taking a time out to find a dress and go to a dinner is actually very realistic for a detective/police officer. They have to fit their other lives in somehow!

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