Good Friday is published on 24 August 2017 by Zaffre and is available to buy here
BEFORE PRIME SUSPECT THERE WAS TENNISON.
Every legend has a beginning . . .
During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not.
Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.
‘Good Friday’ is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target. As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can she convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire detective force?
I’ve loved my journey into Jane Tennison’s early years. We are now on the third instalment with Good Friday. It is 1975.
The story takes us into the time when London was feeling the effects of the IRA and their bombing campaign. Jane Tennison is still in the police force and has risen to the rank of detective constable. She is determined to be taken seriously and to be put to good use. However Jane is subject to repeated sexual discrimination and has to fight to get anywhere. She wants to work in the Flying Squad, a department that deals with organised crime. Jane ends up in the Dip-Squad, where they go after organised pick pocketers. One day, Jane is in the wrong place at the wrong time. A bomb goes off at Covent Garden station and she is a witness to the devastation and terror. She is a key witness and the police are keen to exploit this putting the Tennisons in danger. Will the IRA get to Jane? Will her bosses take her seriously for once?
I loved getting back to Jane and her early years as a police officer. However I do find the constant sexism and down playing of her abilities very trying. Yes Jane is naive, yes she is still finding her feet and yes she is learning. I am sure she is no different from anyone else learning a new job and picking up skills. She has incredible instincts and she gets some things very right. I just wish she had a mentor or a decent colleague to support her. It seems like she is up against constant negativity. These are men who are her superiors, who want to take the credit, when she gets it right and are quite happy to pull her to pieces at the same time. She is repeatedly sexualized, in derogatory terms by all of the men she comes into contact with. Surely all men in 1975 were not dinosaurs?
In spite of my frustration with the treatment of Jane, I thought the terrorist bombings and how they played out at Convent Garden station were very effective. Jane seems very much traumatized by the horrific bomb blast and what she witnessed. It was interesting to see how the IRA operated with code words and sleeper agents. I do remember the later IRA bombings, in particular the one in Brighton.
I thought this was a cracking read! Jane Tennison is my kind of detective. She is the woman we all loved in Prime Supect. I just want her to be allowed to shine, a little bit more or to just thump someone who makes a derogatory comment about her. Jane Tennison needs to kick some ass! We all know she can do it!