(Before I begin, let me mention that the Frugal Five are featuring Diane on the always popular topic of bargain shopping for this week’s edition of Thrifty Living 2012. Please go visit her at Lavender Dreams.)
Hello, everyone. Today I am reviewing two books, Prime Suspect and Prime Suspect 2: A Face in the Crowd by Lynda La Plante for TLC Book Tours. As always, I am provided with a copy of the books in exchange for my honest review.
I don’t know about you, but I watched every episode of the Prime Suspect series starring Helen Mirren that aired on PBS several years ago. It was absolutely riveting. This year, a new edition of Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello is airing on American television and the wonderful series of Prime Suspect mysteries written by Lynda La Plante, the creator of the television series, have been reissued. Lucky us!
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, these London-based mysteries feature Jane Tennison, a Detective Chief Inspector with Scotland Yard. They were originally written in 1993 when a woman on the police force was a relatively new thing. Jane is resented, marginalized and kept off of cases she should be directing by the good old boys on the force. She’s smart, savvy and incredibly good at what she does; nevertheless she has to fight to head up a case, dealing with harassment and prejudice at every turn.
In the first book, after having been assigned menial duties for several months, Jane is finally given a case involving a murdered prostitute (but only after the male officer heading it up suddenly dies.) She must solve a series of murders, all the while dealing with her fellow officers who refuse to take her seriously and try to thwart her along the way. In the second book, Jane must solve the murder of a young black woman in a neighborhood already full of racial tensions.
Far be it from me to give the plot away from either mystery! I respect a wonderfully plotted mystery too much. La Plante is a wonderful writer who manages to create such a vivid picture of London and the police department that I felt I was there. I could picture it all. Her characters are richly drawn, incredibly detailed, and the stories are so well written that you simply cannot put them down. When I am completely immersed in a story and feel as if I am living in the world created by the author, I know I am reading a gem. These two mysteries are gems, indeed.
When I accepted this assignment, I wondered if my memories of the PBS series would be a hindrance to losing myself in the stories. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Enough time has lapsed that each story was fresh and new.
I will be reviewing the third mystery in the series in a few weeks. If you love mysteries, you will love these books. La Plante is a gifted writer. I highly recommend them.
About the author:
Lynda La Plante’s fourteen novels, including the Prime Suspect Series, have all been international bestsellers. She is an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and a member of the UK Crime Writers Awards Hall of Fame. She runs her own television production company and lives in London and Easthampton, NY.
Edited to add: Just found out I can give away a set of these wonderful mysteries to a lucky someone who leaves a comment. Go ahead, enter! I’ll draw the winner’s name on Saturday evening.