This story starts a bit like The Red Dahlia – the second book in La Plante’s Anna Travis series – whereby the lead detective on a case dies/becomes incapacitated by ill health, and so a new detective has to take their place. This happens to be a woman called Jane Tennison, in this case, and she has to jump straight into a well liked, older, respected male colleague’s place – against the wishes of his loyal subordinates.
La Plante seems to stick to the theme of women not being respected in the police force and having to fight their way in. We see this with the Anna Travis novels – she is not taken seriously until she proves herself, and even then faces stiff opposition from most of the men on the force. The same can be said for Jane Tennison. She is unfairly not called up for the murder enquiries and when she finally gets to head one up, she must deal with all the male officers who are against her running the show.
The contrast between Tennison and Travis, are that I like Travis – Tennison is just such a b***h. I know she has to, unfairly, fight for a chance at doing her job, but she just isn’t my cup of tea. This makes it more difficult for me to connect with her in the story.
A prostitute is murdered, the detective’s catch an early DNA break and hope to wrap the case up within 48 hours – beating some mythical record set by a previous detective. When the guv dies on the job, Tennison takes over and finds that the evidence is flawed and they must start again.
We follow the police investigation to it’s conclusion, in this tense police procedural.
I found it to be an easy read, although some of the language is slightly dated, being set in 1990…. Does that make me sound really old? Or really young? I can’t decide. Either way, I was born just as this book was set and I couldn’t really connect with the attitudes of the men on the force. I understand that the world and its views on gender equality have drastically changed in the last 30 years, but I just couldn’t correlate these men’s outlooks with those of any man I know today.
I would recommend this book for police procedural/crime fans. Even thriller fans – it has lots of gory descriptions of the murders. Glad I read it 🙂 3.5* rounded up to 4 *.