Jane Tennison Books in Order: How to read Lynda La Plante’s series?

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Coming from British author, screenwriter, and occasional actress Lynda La Plante, the Jane Tennison books spun off the Prime Suspect TV Show La Plante created in which Helen Mirren starred as DCI Jane Tennison.

Initially, the series is about DCI Jane Tennison of Southampton Row Police Station in Central London who constantly battles to prove herself within a male-dominated profession in which many of her colleagues are determined to see her fail. The second book series published since 2015 is a prequel, taking us back to 1973 at the beginning of Jane Tennison’s career.

How to read the Jane Tennison Series in Order?

Reading The original Jane Tennison Book Series in Order:

  1. Prime Suspect – The moment Jane Tennison takes over Scotland Yard’s investigation into the death of sex worker Della Mornay, two grim facts become immediately clear to her. First, that the constabulary’s old boy club is determined to hinder, harass, and undermine the new female Detective Chief Inspector at every turn. And second, that their murder victim isn’t Della Mornay.
  2. A Face in the Crowd – The coroner’s report identifies the body as young, black, female, and impossibly anonymous. Yet one thing is clear to Detective Tennison about the latest victim discovered in one of London’s poorest districts-that news of her murder will tear apart a city already crackling with racial tensions, hurling Scotland Yard and Tennison herself into a maelstrom of shocking accusations and sudden, wrenching violence.
  3. Silent Victims – Determined to bring justice to the murder of a teenage male prostitute, but thwarted by conspiracy, corruption, and chauvinism at every level of her own police force, Jane is starting to crack. And though she’s finally broken through the glass ceiling of her old station house and been promoted to the Soho Vice Squad, her furious quest for the truth will put everything she’s accomplished back on the line.

Reading The 1973’s Tennison Series in Order

  1. Tennison – In 1973 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives. We witness her struggle to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, learning fast to deal with shocking situations with no help or sympathy from her superiors. Then comes her involvement in her first murder case.
  2. Hidden Killers – When WPC Jane Tennison is promoted to the role of Detective Constable in London’s Bow Street CID, she is immediately conflicted. While her more experienced colleagues move on swiftly from one criminal case to another, Jane is often left doubting their methods and findings. As she becomes inextricably involved in a multiple rape case, Jane must put her life at risk in her search for answers.
  3. Good Friday – 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 of IRA retaliation.
  1. Murder Mile – 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.
  2. The Dirty Dozen – Jane Tennison has worked hard to become the first female detective ever post to the infamous Flying Squad, or ‘the Sweeney’. But the Dirty Dozen is a notorious boys’ club, and Jane’s new colleagues make it clear that they don’t think a woman is up to the dangers of the job.
  3. Blunt Force – Things can’t get much worse for detective Jane Tennison. Unceremoniously kicked off the adrenaline-fuelled Flying Squad, she’s been relegated to Gerald Road, a small and sleepy police station in the heart of London’s affluent Knightsbridge. With only petty crime to sink her teeth into, Tennison can feel her career slowly flatlining. That is until the discovery of the most brutal murder Jane has ever seen: Charlie Foxley has been found viciously beaten to death, his body dismembered and disemboweled.
  1. Unholy Murder – A coffin is dug up by builders on the grounds of a historic convent – inside is the body of a young nun. In a city as old as London, the discovery is hardly surprising. But when scratch marks are found on the inside of the coffin lid, Detective Jane Tennison believes she has unearthed a mystery far darker than any she’s investigated before.
  2. Dark Rooms – Helena Lanark is an elderly woman, living in a luxurious care home. The heiress of an immense family fortune, she keeps the secret about the horror which once occurred within the Lanark family house. Jane Tennison is leading a murder investigation into the recent brutal death of a young girl, her decomposed starved body discovered in an old air-raid shelter in the garden of the Lanark’s now derelict house. Initially, the focus is on identifying the victim, until another body is found, hidden in the walls of the shelter.
  3. Taste of Blood – Detective Jane Tennison made a bad choice. She was the one who put in a transfer to the quiet, local police station in Bromley, keen to escape the relentless pressure of her former West End department. Now she regrets her decision. The tedium of petty crime investigations even makes her question remaining in the force. But then a complicated domestic assault case lands on her desk – one that might still result in a murder charge if the victim dies of his injuries.

If you like the Jane Tennison reading order, you may also want to see our guide to Martina Cole’s books. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

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One Comment

  1. Unholy murders. was fabulous. Being a
    lapsed catholic since 1950s found it all.to be so true. fantastic as usul Linda La Plante. wow

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