Cover Image: Unholy Murder

Unholy Murder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is an enjoyable read that is well-written, well-plotted, with plenty of clues and possible suspects.  It was difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys.   My thanks to NetGalley and the author for a complimentary copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Any new Jane Tennison mystery is exciting and Unholy Murder does not disappoint. From the discovery of an old coffin in London, Tennison has no choice but to go against her superiors and the Church to convince all it's not just an old cold case. A prequel to earlier publications, but no less exciting.
Was this review helpful?
Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante

Det.Jane Tennison must lift the lid on the most chilling murder case of her career to date.

A coffin is found on the grounds of a deserted Catholic orphanage and digging has stopped.  This book has many secrets to be shifted through.  Whose body is in the coffin?  This book kept me guessing right to the end.  Many interesting and devious characters.  I liked this book.

Thanks to Net Galley for sending me an advanced reader’s copy for my review.
Was this review helpful?
This series by Lynda LaPlante is nothing short of ingenious and this book definitely falls into line with the other books that I have read so far about Jane Tennison.  I love that this book was so layered.  There are two conjoined mysteries to be solved and it is found that they are both entwined in a strange way.  I feel that Jane is a strong character and a good mentor to Boon in this book.  Her instincts are sharp and she has unique, compelling ideas that really move the case along.  I have to be honest and I did not really care for the double love interest angle here and felt that this actually drew away from the story.  I also did not care for the priest that she met at the beginning of the investigation.  I felt that he just seemed to really take himself away from what is happening in a way that just seems so off.  The main love interest is one of the whiniest men I have read in quite some time.  I felt that a bullet was dodged.  I definitely want to read more from this author.  Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Let’s get right to the heart of the book! It’s the 7th book by Lynda La Plante in her Jane Tennyson series and a first read for me. I felt it was a good stand alone book, but I could tell the characters were established and their characters demonstrated prior knowledge of each other. Cue the romance and add that to this crime thriller. 

A convent, an unlikely place for a cold case, mystery and murder, added to the intrigue, with nuns, the church and the discovery of a body found in a coffin. Shrouded in a cover up and met with police procedures, this book is a page turner. 

This book had lots of twists and turns and unexpected events that kept me engaged. It played out evenly and Ali found the characters were well developed and multilayered. 

Thank you to Bonnier Zagre USA and NetGalley for a digital copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
A coffin is dug up by builders in the grounds of a historic convent - inside is the body of a young nun.  By the scratch marks inside the closed lid, it’s apparent she wasn’t dead when placed there. Even though the police and the Catholic Church want to just put this away as a very cold case, DC Jane Tennison isn’t so sure.

I liked the main character, Tennison, and I enjoyed the mystery. I found some of it predictable, but that is no fault of the author. I’m just kinda good at guessing these things. 

As with most mysteries, not just the British ones, a little romance was thrown in.  I had no problem with that on the surface, but I did have issues with the way DC Jane Tennison conducted herself with the man she became involved with. And for that matter, other men she had met. 
She is very quick to get attached, and sometimes that’s inappropriate. Her instant feelings for a Catholic Priest, Father Chris.  He hugs her goodbye and gives her a kiss on the cheek and she feels sexual arousal? Really??? 
Her relationship with Nick is annoying at best. Almost the moment she meets him, she thinks he may be the one! Why? I have no idea other than rich and handsome, and even that seems beneath our hero.
Nick shows classic signs of being a controlling, jealous, type of lover but Jane never sees this, and I have to shake my head in wonder. She’s a detective but she can’t see this guy is slightly unbalanced and if nothing else, a man-child, who gets mad or cries when things don’t go as he wants.

Jane and her partner Boone, seem to love to share information about a current case, when they know they shouldn’t, then they are so, so sorry when caught. Even I find that hard to buy. They could have jeopardized any chance of a conviction when the killer is caught by doing those things. In almost every mystery I have read and in the true crime books, police hold back a little something to draw out a suspect. Yet these two, because they feel the person is nice or trustworthy, just blurt out anything and everything that is to be held back. I almost wonder how this case was ever solved at all!

Thanks to @Netgalley, Bonnie Zaffre USA, and Lynda La Plante, for the opportunity to read this eArc in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting but somewhat not really my cup of tea. A mystery thriller crime. Regarding murdering nuns and a huge crime ring with the church. Well written. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
I can always count on Lynda LaPlante for a multidimensional police procedure thriller with some human interest romance thrown in!  I have loved her Jane Tennison for many years, she is a wonderfully flawed character who always adds humanity into her investigations.  
This story has some unrelentingly harsh criticisms of the Catholic church, for those who may be sensitive to that.  But is otherwise well written, with realistic and likable characters.  Jane gets her knickers into a twist, but remains professional, yet caring to the end.
Highly recommended for those who like strong women characters in a police drama narrative.
Was this review helpful?
DS Jane Tennison and her partner, DC Simon Boon, are called to a building site to examine a coffin. Inside is the body of a young nun, and the investigation soon reveals that the building site used to be a convent and a school, where abuse happened and wrongdoings were covered up.

I'm a huge fan of mysteries that involve nuns, and Unholy Murder intrigued me with its behind-the-scenes look at convent life and Church politics. The first half of the book was a bit of a slog -- it was slow-moving, and I almost DNF'd because I got bored -- but fortunately, the story picked up in the second half. I like Jane and Boon's partnership, and I like how their investigation digs into politics within the Catholic Church, and how this affects politics in municipalities and the police force as well. 

I especially love how this mystery delves into the broader conversations around the Church's history of abuse and cover-ups. The former convent has a troubling history, and the investigation leads Jane and Boon to former students and former nuns who have their own memories and experiences of trauma at the hands of those in leadership. That being said, I also like how the priests and nuns were presented, if not necessarily sympathetically, at least as humans, with all the flaws that implies. I have little sympathy for the Mother Superior who took out her anger on the students, but I appreciate how her descent to cruelty was explained somewhat with the external pressures she faced in her career. 

Jane's boss, DCS Barnes, also has his own history with the Church, which has led to him renouncing the faith. This colours his approach to the investigation and some of the suspects, and ultimately in consequences to his career. I thought this added a nicely personal touch to the mystery, and I like how he finds a way to share his truth at the end. 

I learned midway through the book that this series is actually a prequel to the BBC Show Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren as an older Jane Tennison. I remember enjoying that series, and finding Mirren's character iconic -- "Don't call me ma'am. I'm not the bloody Queen." So this younger verison of Jane was a bit of a disappointment. She's fine, but nowhere near as iconic as she grows up to be. On the flip side, I developed a soft spot for Boon, and the scene where he uses Handel's Messiah to tease out clues from someone with dementia was just beautifully done.

There were a couple of romantic subplots -- between Jane and Nick, and Boon and Becky -- which were honestly pretty meh. It was clear the characters were attracted to each other, but I didn't really feel much of the chemistry. And Nick in particular turned out to be quite a man child; his immaturity in the latter half of the book was such a turnoff. The young and handsome priest, Father Chris, seemed more appealing as a love interest, but even acknowledging the barrier of his vows, that hint of a relationship barely fizzed. And as a Catholic, I found his breaking of the seal of confession a terrible breach of trust -- granted, the person who confessed is dead, and the confession does end up tying some important loose ends, but still, the fact that he did that at all rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall, a bit too much of a slow burn for me, and the characters didn't really grab me enough to make me want to read more in the series. But it did rekindle my interest in the BBC show, and I may check it out again.


Thank you to the publisher for an egalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.


This review will go live on my blog on September 27, 8 am ET.
Was this review helpful?
This was one of those books where you just don't want to put it down until you finish the last page.  Lynda has once again given us a well written story of intrique and murder.  I am really looking forward to more of her books and have enjoyed everything that I have read of hers so far.
Was this review helpful?
I was very into the premise for this story.  Developers are digging on the grounds of an old convent grounds and find a coffin.  Evidence suggests she was alive when she went in making a clear case for murder.  Detective Jane works hard to make sure the case is investigated properly.  The first quarter of this book I couldn’t look away, but then they introduced two “love interests” for Jane and it really took me away from the story.  The first was a priest she was interviewing as part of the investigation.  While it may not have been romantic their relationship was unprofessional and not what I would expect from a detective of Jane’s caliber.  The second was the the current developer and son of the developer who owns the lands.  Also met during an interview and despite suspicions that his father is hiding things from her investigation she agrees to see him.  It all felt ridiculous and out of character for a passionate detective.  At first I wondered if it was a cultural piece, but no it gets addressed as inappropriate in the story.  The mystery was interesting but the end was rather unsatisfying.
Was this review helpful?
A cold case with surprise connections
“Unholy Murder” is book seven in the “Young Tennison” series, but each case is separate. There is a nice balance between the events, the police procedures, and the people who are doing the investigations. Readers get to know the characters, their personalities, their quirks as well as follow a compelling investigation to find out “whodunit.”

It is 1982, Detective Jane Tennison had quite a volatile history during her previous service in the Met, and she sometimes feels that people are just out to get her.   Since she cannot change what happened, it is time to move on to a new assignment. She is a fighter, not a quitter, and she wants to make inspector. It is time for Tennison to communicate better and work as part of a team.
The police are called to a construction site, a former convent, now apartments, where more are being built. A dull day j got exciting when the crew uncovered a coffin. The work comes to a stop as the team tries to discover if this is a “proper consecrated” graveyard or an intentional burial to cover up a murder. Every day of lost work costs money, so there is pressure to move quickly; the body must be identified and the death reconciled before construction can resume. The original convent and the chapel are historic listed sites, but yet little is known about their actual operation. The team uncovers multiple events from the past that suddenly become connected, and the investigation becomes complicated.
The characters are multifaceted, and there is a nice balance between everyday activities, friendly banter, and serious investigation. This is a complex case, and details unfold slowly, layer by layer. I received a review copy of” Unholy Murder” from Lynda La Plant and Bonnier Zaffre Publishers. The book is evenly paced and organized; however, there are plenty of unusual developments and surprise connections in this challenging case that keep readers turning the pages
Was this review helpful?
I have enjoyed many of Lynda La Plante’s British police procedurals however Unholy Murder was a miss for me. The seventh in the Jane Tennison series, La Plant does an admirable job of filling in the backstory and thus can be read as a stand alone book. However, the dialogue, characters, plot - too simple, too obvious. Points for an attempt to incorporate many elements to muddy the waters but easy to see where this was going and how it was going to finish.

Thank you NetGalley and Zaffre for a copy
Was this review helpful?
This is the 7th book in the Jane Tennyson series.  It can easily be read as a stand alone, but the first 6 books are excellent reads too, so put them on your TBR list.  Lynda La Plante's Jane Tennyson is the primary character in the TV series "Prime Suspect".  Her books are excellent examples of great police procedurals and set the bar vey high for other authors to reach.  In this story, Jane must investigate the murder of a nun who was buried alive in unconsecrated ground.  The twist, the murder happened more than 20 years ago and was only recently discovered when the coffin was unearthed during a construction project.  Jane must work with, or against in some instances, the Catholic Church to figure out this perplexing case where so many examples of church abuse come to light.  Ive read many Lynda La Plante books and can honestly say....I'll keep reading them as long as she keeps writing them.
Was this review helpful?
The grounds of an old convent are being redeveloped when a buried coffin is found where it should not have been. 
As the book continues DS Tennison is called out to investigate why the coffin was buried there and what other secrets will be unearthed. Lynda LaPlante has written another engaging story of murder and long buried secrets that twist to an emotional ending. I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley and the Publisher, Bonnier Zaffre, USA. The review and comments are my honest opinion. Upgraded to 4.3 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I have only read one book before by this author in the DC Jack Warr series. This is my first book in the Tennison series, and I had no problem following along with the story. You might think that this far along with the character would make it hard to connect, but I found it very easy to understand the story and the character. The author did really well in developing the story for new readers and continuing to develop the main character for ones who have already seen her past. There were very brief mentions of things that might have happened in previous books, but it wasn't hard to understand how it fits in, and it didn't take away from this book.

Like I said I've read another book by this author called Judas Horse, and I wasn't a big fan of that book. It felt pretty ordinary for me and didn't have the draw and hook I want from a crime and thriller book. But I'm glad to say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than Judas Horse. It isn't a fast-paced gripping thriller, but it did have a lot to keep me hooked on the mystery, and I just love the way everything fell into place. There was a lot of information to digest and wrap your head around that I found it kept me engaged.

This book also has a lot to do with the church and hidden secret things happening behind closed doors. There was not only this dead body found but also scandals happening. For people who aren't familiar with the hierocracy of church officials, this book easily explained it so you won't be lost.

Overall I did enjoy this book. There were a lot of different mysteries, clues, and suspects. I thought it was a solid crime book, and I'm sure many people will enjoy the story. I was hooked to this story because of the unique setting of this convent, and I'm pleased with how the author used this feature and was able to dig into a lot of unique opportunities that come with the church aspect.
Was this review helpful?
I have read a couple books featuring the Detective Jane Tennison and I have enjoyed each one.  They can be read as standalones and still be good. This one takes us to an unearthed coffin in an old convent that is being renovated into apartments. It may have been an old coffin but the murdered nun inside has the police racing to find the killer.  I do like learning about the police procedurals of the time and Jane, while not perfect, does her best to bring justice to the dead. This crime drama delves into the whole catholic church corruption and cover ups between nuns and priest and also the children they were in charge of (orphans and such). I liked reading about it and I think my favorite characters in Lynda LaPlante's books are Jane Tennison and Jack Warr. 

I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Detective Tennison has been working as a police officer for quite some time in the London area. She has recently been moved to a new jurisdiction because of some...issues at her previous posting. She expects this new posting to be quiet and mostly involve petty thefts and maybe the occasional drug charge. All of those expectations are turned on their head when a casket is found on a building site and there is a body inside. Tennison and her partner quickly find themselves at odds with their bosses....and the Catholic Church.

So this is a pretty slow read for me. This is one of many mysteries featuring detective Tennison. It was easy to follow and was definitely standalone from the other stories, which was a hug plus for me as I have not read any of the other Tennison stories. The story was intriguing at points and the story and its' players were very complex and entwined. It is definitely a story you had to pay attention to or you would forget all of the people and how they connected to one another. Forgetting even one player would leave the ending with holes!

The two complaints I had were all of the major sidebars in the story. We would be talking about findings from a lab test and the characters would randomly start talking about something totally irrelevant. This happened frequently throughout the story and I couldn't figure out what purpose these tangents served or the author's intent. As such, it slowed the plot down a lot for me. The other was how dissatisfying the end was. We connected all the dots and got all the answers, but there was definitely no sense of punishment or justice or the victims getting any kind of representation. That was a pretty big let down for me and I would like to think it isn't accurate, but perhaps that is wishful thinking.
Was this review helpful?
Detective Jane Tennyson's case, Unholy Murder, is more of a cozy, British historic mystery than thrilling and chilling. It could be read as a standalone. My only issue was having not read any of the other books in this series, I had to do some math to figure out what decade it was.
The plot is a police procedural inquiry into the death of a victim discovered in a casket at a construction site. Jane is new to this town and to the Bromley CID office. Her partner, Boon, is a rookie. There are many supporting characters with the police, suspects, priests, nuns, and the witnesses. They were all interesting and well developed.
There's a considerable amount of home improvement, decorating, architectural and building detail. 
There's also an abundance of Catholic church history, information and facts. At times the entire premise of the book was an expose of Catholic child abuse, both sexual and physical, cover-ups, and pediphile priests. I was not offended and while the church was relevant to the investigation, part of the case, and appropriate to the time period, it almost overshadowed the murder itself. It was a little bit "preachy" (pun intended).
The romantic tryst was no surprise to me and it was somewhat questionable considering the police case.
I figured out the plot early on in the book. The story seemed be more about the how and why, than who committed the crime. Overall it was too pedestrian and predictable for me.
I have great respect for the author and have read the D C Jack Warr series. I really enjoyed them, so the Tennyson series is just not for me.
Thanks to Netgalley, Lynda La Plante and Zaffre publishing for the advance digital copy. These thoughts and opinions are mine alone given voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
This might be my favorite of the new prequel series starring Jane Tennison from the Prime Suspect series. The mystery revolves around the murder of a nun, whose grave is  uncovered at a construction site after 25 years. . The story is set in the early 1980's, when Tennison was still early in her career. The list of suspects is long, and includes the Catholic church, who may have covered up the murder in order to avoid a scandal. We are also treated to some romance when Jane becomes involved with the son of one of the key suspects ... a relationship that quickly becomes complicated when she develops  a friendship (or is it more than that?) with a priest.

While the dialogue and descriptions are occasionally stilted, the plot was interesting and kept me entertained for several night. I appreciate NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest opinions.
Was this review helpful?