Page 3 Profile: Lynda La Plante, crime writer


A new novel on the way?

La Plante is currently putting the finishing touches to Unlawful Death, which is due for release in August. To ensure its accuracy, the crime writer called on the expertise of a scientist specialising in botany for passages covering poison, and it's this attention to detail that has garnered her a prestigious award.

The Booker?

Unlikely. Instead, the Prime Suspect creator has become the first lay person to be given an honorary fellowship by The Forensic Science Society for the "realism and understanding" in her work.

"I feel very proud because it's a culmination of my respect for them and their respect for me," she said. "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."

How has she done her research?

La Plante's work has taken her to major crime scenes, mortuaries, prisons and even on a drugs raid. She said of the Society: "The time they gave me was extraordinary, because they wanted me to get it right.

The creation of DCI Jane Tennison, the character portrayed by Helen Mirren but inspired by real-life officer Jackie Malton, came about when Ms Malton complained that writers never got police processes right.

Are broadcasters to blame?

La Plante, who believes the BBC has a vendetta against her work, has been distinctly un-PC in her criticism of the Corporation's drama bosses. "I mean, to get something from the BBC commissioners… This year I have had six projects turned down," she said in an interview, branding them "retards". In 2010, she said she would stand more chance of getting one of her scripts on the air if "my name were Usafi Iqbadal and I was 19".