Good Friday Review

Author // Lynda La Plante
Publication Date // August 2017
Publisher // Bonnier Zaffre
Readership //Adult
Genre // Crime
Australian RRP // $32.99
Rating // 


From the creator of the award-winning ITV series Prime Suspect, this is Jane Tennison’s story, from rookie police officer to fully-fledged detective.

In the race to stop a deadly attack just pray she’s not too late…

March, 1976. The height of The Troubles. An IRA bombing campaign strikes terror across Britain. Nowhere and no one is safe.

When detective constable Jane Tennison survives a deadly explosion at Covent Garden tube station, she finds herself in the middle of a media storm. Minutes before the blast, she caught sight of the bomber. Too traumatised to identify him, she is nevertheless a key witness and put under 24-hour police protection.

As work continues round the clock to unmask the terrorists, the Metropolitan police are determined nothing will disrupt their annual Good Friday dinner dance. Amid tight security, hundreds of detectives and their wives and girlfriends will be at St Ermin’s Hotel in central London. Jane, too, is persuaded to attend.

But in the week leading up to Good Friday, Jane experiences a sudden flashback. She realises that not only can she identify the bomber, but that the IRA Active Service Unit is very close to her indeed. She is in real and present danger. In a nailbiting race against time, Jane must convince her senior officers that her instincts are right before London is engulfed in another bloodbath.


Good Friday is my first foray into the world of Lynda La Plante’s iconic female detective, Jane Tennison, following her early career before she begins to rise within the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Set in the mid-1970s, amid a spate of IRA bombings, Jane Tennison is desperate to prove herself a capable detective in a field where female detectives are looked upon with skepticism and more than a little sexism. Tennison finds herself a key witness in an underground bombing that kills several people and injures many more, and at risk when the media publicise her involvement in assisting the injured at the scene. She’s persuaded to attend the annual Good Friday dinner dance by her colleagues, despite the inherent danger.

Good Friday is a solid British crime drama. There’s a lot of detail and a lot of background included, that is no doubt there for long-time fans of Jane Tennison. At times the sheer amount of information included, such as basic daily jobs, slowed down the pace for me and there were a few scenes I struggled to get through because of lack of interest. It’s a slow-burn crime novel and I wish I’d known that going in to reading it. That said, I can appreciate the level of detail La Plante goes to in order to highlight the common place sexism that Jane Tennison would have faced as a young female detective in the police force in the 1970s. At times it’s quite confronting and, as a modern day woman, it made me very uncomfortable – and yet it was a reality for so many.

Overall I gave Good Friday 3 out of 5 stars.

(Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of Good Friday for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

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