It’s 1979 and Jane Tennison has now risen to the rank of Detective Sergeant in Peckham CID. Strikes across Britain as part of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ have left rubbish mounding up on the streets and it is here where the body of a young woman is discovered, strangled. When a second body is found nearby, and then a third, days later, newspaper headlines are quick to decide that a serial killer is on the loose in what has now become known as ‘Murder Mile’. Fighting to overcome the sexism that is lingering in the police force, Jane knows that she needs to tread carefully if she is going to find the killer before any more bodies are discovered.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Lynda La Plante’s work and I still maintain that Jane Tennison is one of the best (if not the best) detectives in fiction. This is now the fourth book in the Tennison series and I feel that we are now seeing signs of the Jane that we know and love from the Prime Suspect series. Her promotion to Sergeant has given her a bit more gravitas and, even though she is still dealing with the sexist attitudes of much of the force, she is now in a position to make people sit up and take notice.
In Murder Mile, Lynda la Plante has encapsulated the unrest in Britain in the winter of 1978-79 when widespread strikes in the public sector helped lead the Conservative party, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, to victory in the 1979 general election. The attention to detail such as this helps to create a very realistic setting, painting a clear image of the investigation. I feel that this would easily transfer to television, and I hope that, one day, we get the chance to watch it!
In a time before a lot of the more modern detection techniques, it is good to see Jane having to rely on her own instincts to help her to solve the case. As she tried to make a connection between the victims, it was good to see Jane questioning the theories of her superiors, although her fear of not being taken seriously often led to her putting herself in danger.
Murder Mile is another great addition to the Tennison series and I can’t wait for the next one as we approach the 1980s!
With thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for my ARC.
Take a look at my reviews for the rest of the Tennison series: