Friday, 25 August 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Lynda La Plante

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...


I am an avid fan of Michael Connolly. His knowledge of police procedure and intricate plots keeps the reader enthralled, but he also brings to life very strong characters that drive the narrative. It is no wonder that many of his novels have been adapted for film and television series. 

I was a student at RADA and used to go to a small cinema showing foreign films with sub titles in Hampstead. I have never forgotten watching Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masino in the stunning film La Strada directed by Frederico Fellini. The characters are emotionally compelling and the simplicity of the storyline is made powerful by the brilliant performances of the stars. I now have it on DVD and still watch it every year and it never ceases to touch me; it is a very haunting film.

I loved the CROWN as I think it is the best drama we have made in the UK for many years. It is exquisite to watch. I love everything about it.

I think Hannibal Lecter has to be one of the best fictional killers ever written. Sir Anthony Hopkins portrayal of the character in the movie made him even more of a terrifying character. I was in the same year as Anthony at RADA and he is a brilliant actor. Nobody else could play Lecter like him. 

I love anything written by Raymond Chandler. His Philip Marlow was a fore runner for all the detectives and his creation was yet another fictional detective that made it to the big screen. Chandler's writing has great humour and his ability in a few strokes to describe characters that leap off the page and drive his plots is for me the biggest incentive to encourage writers to read his works. 

Knives and guns are obvious murder weapons but they leave behind a trail of evidence for the police to track down and make an arrest. Poison has become a very frightening silent weapon of death. Numerous victims have died from being given doses of anti-freeze to such an extent the manufacturers were forced to add a distinct smell and colour. Strychnine also retains a strong odour of almonds. Rat poison likewise, but someone intent on killing can gain from the internet a frightening array of toxic poisons that are difficult to trace.

I recently read the brilliant Patricia Cornwell’s book tracing the Jack the Ripper crimes. Her research and narrative is very compelling as she uncovers the identity of the infamous killer. We also had the repellent Yorkshire Ripper, who in many ways mirrored the Victorian murderer and attempted to replicate his gruesome disemboweling of his victims, making his capture a relief. However, the original mad man was never caught and Miss Cornwall creates such compassion and empathy for the tragic victims that their death scenes are still able to instill great sadness at the brutal way their lives were taken. There is never any pleasure in a death scene, nor is there any humour in dying. However I was very amused when I read about the 1920’s high society Emerald Cunard asking her maid for a glass of champagne on her death bed. When the maid brought her the chilled champagne in an elegant fluted glass she said ‘It is for you’. 

Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool. She trained for the stage at RADA and worked with the National Theatre and RDC before becoming a television actress. She then turned to writing - and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful TV series WIDOWS.
Her novels have all been international bestsellers. Her original script for the much-acclaimed PRIME SUSPECT won awards from BAFTA, Emmys, British Broadcasting and Royal Television Society as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Writer's Award. 
Since 1993 Lynda has spearheaded La Plante Productions. In that time the company has produced a stunning slate of innovative dramas with proven success and enduring international appeal. 
Based on Lynda's best selling series of Anna Travis novels, Above Suspicion, Silent Scream, Deadly Intent and Silent Scream have all adapted into TV scripts and received impressive viewing figures. 

Find Lynda La Plante on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @LaPlanteLynda


Publisher's description
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? 

Good Friday was published by Zaffre on 24 August 2017.

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