“Good Friday”

good friday“Good Friday” by Linda La Plante takes place in March 1976, a time when the Irish Republican Army subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign.

Jane Tennison completed her CID course and was anxious to put her skills to work. Unfortunately, in 1976, roles for women in police-work were very different, and police regulations included obtaining permission to live anywhere except in the section house, having roommates and neighbors checked for criminal records, and even requesting permission to get married. Her prospects for high-level police jobs were severely restricted, so instead of a spot on the elite “Flying Squad,” she was offered a position in the “DIP squad” chasing pickpockets. Even there, she was the first woman member.

Nevertheless, she was determined to accomplish her goals. She took the new job, got her own place with a roommate, and endeavored to learn all there was to know about being a pickpocket and catching a thief. Of course, the Scotland Yard Detective Squad’s annual black-tie dinner dance was approaching on Good Friday, April 16, at St. Ermin’s Hotel, and she was expected to attend with a date and in formal dress.

The book followed Jane through her every day comings and goings as she struggled to cope with ordinary events and an extra ordinary job. She focused on being a good police officer and a good friend. She found a roommate, reconnected with an old friend from Hendon Police College, and even took a few cooking lessons.

However, all was not well in Janes’ world. Her life became increasingly complicated by sexual tension on the job, a prostitution ring case involving an underage girl, and a horrific IRA bombing. Her personal life collapsed in shambles, and she was at a loss to know whom she could trust. Things came to a terrifying climax that had me on the edge of my seat.

I received a copy of “Good Friday” from Bonnier Zaffre Publishing, Linda La Plante, and NetGalley in exchange for my impartial review. I enjoyed the book and its look at complex London police work in 1976. The contrast between Jane’s everyday existence and her unpredictable, even gripping police life made this a compelling book.  I highly recommend it.