When builders discover a coffin buried in the grounds of an old convent, there are no surprises when the body inside is revealed to be a nun. What is shocking, however, are the scratch marks on the inside of the lid – the woman was clearly still alive when she was buried. Her superiors are keen to dismiss it as a cold case, but Detective Jane Tennison is not so sure and soon she is embarking on an investigation that will pit her against the church and open up old wounds for a member of the team.
Lynda la Plante knows how to tell a good story and she has managed to do it again in this, the seventh in the Tennison series. As each book progresses, we see signs of the detective becoming more like the Jane Tennison of the Prime Suspect series and is already beginning to get a bit of a reputation for doing things her own way. I have enjoyed seeing Jane move forward in time and now that we are in the 1980s, it has been interesting to see her becoming more accepted in her role as opposed to the very overt sexism she experienced during her time in the flying squad in previous books.
The subject matter is, at times, quite harrowing and there may be triggers for anyone who would not choose to read about child abuse. While this is only a small part of the plot, it does help to build up a complete picture of the crime and explains the reasons behind the views of one of the officers involved.
The Tennison series is one of my favourites but this can definitely be read as a standalone if you have not read any of the other books. I look forward to seeing what case Jane investigates next!