editor's choice




Lynda La Plante is one of those names that people know. A former actress turned-screenwriter and novelist, La Plante is behind some of the most successful TV series globally, including Widows and Prime Suspect, which made her name internationally. Buried, the author’s latest venture, published tomorrow in the UK, is a nod to the old as well as the new. Introducing young DC Jack Warr, it features characters who diehard La Plante fans will be familiar with, albeit older, but not necessarily wiser.

As with all of La Plante’s work, Buried is incredibly visual, immersing the reader in the characters’ landscape and worlds from the very first lines. Protagonist Warr, who’s set to appear in future books, has recently moved to London with his girlfriend, Maggie, but is yet to settle into his new job. The discovery of a badly burned body at Rose Cottage in rural Aylesbury changes things. The word ‘Pervert’ still discernible on the wall above the corpse, it seems initially likely that child abuse might be involved, but then there are the remnants of ‘stacks of dry, charred paper’ in the hearth, millions of pounds from a 1990s’ train robbery. The subsequent investigation leads Warr and his colleagues, detectives Laura Wade and Anik Joshi, down a veritable rabbit hole, into places no one could quite have expected.

As in her other novels, La Plante’s female characters, particularly the ‘gang’ members from The Grange, are wonderfully realised. Indeed, the author has said that one of her favourite things about writing the book was the ‘resurrection of the women’ from Widows, ex-cons Connie, Ester – and even Dolly.

This is enjoyable, particularly if you’ve read the Widows books or seen the series. Even if you haven’t, Buried is a good procedural with an interesting end. It’s classic La Plante, extremely visual, with twisty plot strands and great characterisation – the author unquestionably doing what she absolutely does best.


Buried | Lynda La Plante | Zaffre | hardback | £14.99 | 2 April 2020

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Acknowledgements: This review is dedicated to Paul Shields, who knew Ms La Plante, rated Widows highly, and whose wit, humour and presence is missed: two years gone tomorrow. Published as part of the Zaffre book tour. Many thanks to Francesca Russell, publicity director at Zaffre, for kindly sending us a review copy, and to lovely Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the invitation to/organising the tour. Image © The Literary Shed 2020. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’; ‘Doug Johnstone’s A Dark Matter’;Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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