It is now 1980 and Jane Tennison has become the first female to be posted to the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, colloquially known as ‘The Sweeney’. Thrown straight into investigating an armed robbery, Jane is proud of her achievements until she realises that her transfer is part of an experiment to try to tame the male dominated team known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. Determined to prove her worth, Jane learns that a gang is about to carry out a multi-million pound raid, the only problem being she doesn’t know who they are and where or when the raid will take place…
The more this series progresses, the more we see Jane Tennison moving towards the no-nonsense detective we know and love from the Prime Suspect series. Now part of the famous Flying Squad, she is, again, having to fight the rampant sexism that exists in the police force, discovering that her posting is, in fact, part of an experiment. You can feel Jane’s frustration, a detective who deserves to be where she is due to her competence, yet it is still her sex that is dictating her role.
In The Dirty Dozen, we see the Flying Squad investigating an armed robbery but Jane is sidelined, tasked with the jobs that her boss deems unimportant. Fortunately for Jane, she grabs the challenge with both hands and, working alongside a fellow officer, Dabs, begins to uncover information that opens up the case. When she is sent on a wild goose chase to interview a potential witness, the whole investigation takes a turn after Jane realises that this information is gold dust. It was good to see Tennison trusting her instincts, refusing to give up even when her superiors displayed a lack of interest – this was definitely the tenacious Prime Suspect detective emerging.
Due to its 1980 setting, there is definitely an Ashes to Ashes feel to The Dirty Dozen and I could imagine Gene Hunt ”firing up the Quattro’ at any moment! Some of the vocabulary used in the book, especially to describe people, made me wince, but this is of the time and made me feel glad that this terminology is no longer acceptable. I always enjoy the references to real-life incidents in this series, in this case the Iranian Embassy siege, as it helps to place the book firmly in a particular time.
I am still absolutely loving this series and my only concern is that we are nearing the time when DCI Tennison will cross paths with George Marlow, taking us to the start of the Prime Suspect series. This is a series that I hope will continue for a while yet!
With thanks to Zaffre and Net Galley for my copy.
Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series: