For me, the first series of ‘Prime Suspect’ will always be one of the greatest pieces of television ever made. Lynda La Plante’s writing and the performance of Dame Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison made the character one of TV’s iconic images. When I found out that La Plante had written a prequel to the series, detailing the beginning of Tennison’s career, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Set in 1973, we first meet probationary, Jane Tennison, in her first posting in Hackney. A stark contrast to her obvious middle-class upbringing, she soon finds herself in a male-dominated police station, showing the desire to overcome the discrimination that we know she eventually manages to do. Her talents are soon noted and she manages to become involved in the investigation into the murder of a young prostitute. A chance meeting on the street also pulls Jane into another investigation where she is able to show her worth.
‘Tennison’ gives a good insight into police strategies of the day and also paints a clear picture of the main character – it was easy to imagine Helen Mirren playing this part on TV, just a pity that she is several decades too late! This book will transfer easily to TV and, hopefully, its success will spawn several sequels – it would be good to see what happens to Jane next as she climbs the promotional ladder.