Crime writer Lynda La Plante given honorary fellowship by Forensic Science Society


Agatha Christie may have been dubbed “The Queen of Crime,” but fellow bestselling writer Lynda La Plante has secured a title even her illustrious predecessor would have coveted.

La Plante has received the ultimate accolade for a crime writer, becoming the first lay person awarded with an honorary fellowship by The Forensic Science Society.

The international body for forensic scientists, scene of crime officers, police and those working in related disciplines has embraced the Prime Suspect creator as one of its own for the meticulous research that goes into her novels and television scripts.

“This honour is really lovely,” La Plante told The Independent. “I feel very proud because it’s a culmination of my respect for them and their respect for me.” She added that her work has “never been left without their fingerprints”.

Even the creation of DCI Jane Tennyson, one of La Plante’s most enduring characters who was played by Helen Mirren, was born out of frustration over accuracy. Jacki Malton, who inspired the character, had complained that writers never got police processes right.

La Plante has cultivated contacts across all fields associated with criminal investigation and has even met with criminals to get the tone and the facts of a crime scene right. The details are crucial, she said: “And rather than making the works lag, I feel it interests people.”

From her earliest writing, a screenplay for Widows in 1983 followed by debut novel The Talisman four years later, La Plante has gone “right to the source. Always when you’re writing something, you think you’ve got it then you talk to an expert and realise you didn’t at all.”

The Forensic Society said it had awarded the honorary fellowship “in recognition of the accurate portrayals of forensic science in all of La Plante’s creative works”.

Dr Ann Priston, president of the society, said that many television programmes “are bordering on pure fiction” before adding: “Lynda brings a level of realism and understanding to her writing that is refreshing and exciting.”

Writing for novels and screenplays has to stay up to date with the latest laws, and she has also tapped up some attending the FBI training centre in Quantico.

Her work has taken her to major crime scenes, mortuaries, prisons and even on a drugs raid and continues to do so.  “The time they gave me was extraordinary, because they wanted me to get it right. Their work is often made into a farce, because writers take dramatic licence.”

It never proved difficult to meet experts, even from her debut novel. “I’ve never ever had anyone be dismissive and say they didn’t have the time. Because I found it informative, I was respectful,” she said, adding she would show the experts her manuscripts.

The research has left a profound effect on the writer. After attending some crime scenes “you never get over it. You can see a vicitim and it looks like a mannequin doll and you realise it was a 20-year-old girl,” she said. “They haunt you. Some live inside you and just don’t go away.”

As well as her vast contact book in the crime field, there is an ex-high ranking detective from the Metropolitan Police working full time for La Plante Productions. The detective now makes the contacts for La Plante.

After decades working closely with the police, La Plante said she is most affected by their “deep regard the police have for victims, and the kindness. I know there is a bad apple here or there.”

She is putting the finishing touches to her 18 novel Wrongful Death, which is due for release in August, and for which she called on the expertise of a scientist specialising in botany for passages covering poison.

The Forensic Science Society was founded in 1959, becoming a professional body nine years ago. Its patron is High Court judge, the Hon Sir Nigel Sweeney.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk