Book review: Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 Permalink

I’ve been enjoying Lynda La Plante’s series featuring the young Jane Tennison. I loved the original English Prime Suspect TV series also but the somewhat sexist environment of the 1990s is nothing compared to the police service in the 1970s.

My main complaint regarding both earlier books in this series (Tennison & Good Friday) was that they featured two separate crimes – ultimately merging in some way and I felt they really didn’t need the complexity and we readers didn’t need the distraction.

I like to think my exacting opinions and informed literary reflections (*ahem*) made it through to La Plante because this book is centred around ONE CRIME. (And I loved it!)

Book review: Murder Mile by Lynda La PlanteMurder Mile
by Lynda La Plante
Series: Tennison #4
Published by Allen & Unwin AU
on August 15th 2018
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 9781785764677
Pages: 365

February, 1979, 'The Winter of Discontent'. Economic chaos has led to widespread strikes across Britain.

Jane Tennison, now a Detective Sergeant, has been posted to Peckham CID, one of London's toughest areas. As the rubbish on the streets begins to pile up, so does the murder count: two bodies in as many days.

There are no suspects and the manner of death is different in each case. The only link between the two victims is the location of the bodies, found within a short distance of each other near Rye Lane in Peckham. Three days later another murder occurs in the same area. Press headlines scream that a serial killer is loose on 'Murder Mile' and that police incompetence is hampering the investigation.

Jane is under immense pressure to catch the killer before they strike again. Working long hours with little sleep, what she uncovers leaves her doubting her own mind.

Interestingly Jane is also up against less of the usual misogynistic bullshit in this outing. Naturally there’s a bit, but she seems to have been accepted by the majority of male colleagues and kinda respected in her newly promoted role as Sergeant.

There’s a little less stuff involving Jane’s family and the usual work / life balance stuff as well in this outing and I found the pace of the book spot-on. It wasn’t as dense as the earlier novels and it pretty much delivered on all fronts.

I’m always a little surprised when we move from Jane’s point-of-view to someone else’s and the occasional clumsiness or awkwardness of LaPlante’s prose, but I think I’m just annoyingly picky and her strength is very much in her character creation and the delivery of an intricate but tight plot. (Particularly this time around.)

Again I appreciated the detail La Plante goes to in setting this novel almost 50yrs in the past, including specific references to changes in crime scene processing and evidence gathering.

This is a great read and another enjoyable installment in the young Jane Tennison series.

Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante is available in Australia via Allen & Unwin publishers.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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