I’m excited to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for fascinating and insightful memoir The Real Prime Suspect by Jackie Malton with Helene Mulholland. Thank you to Anne Cater and Octopus Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book.
About the book:
The Real Prime Suspect is a jaw-dropping, gritty memoir from Jackie Malton, former DCI and the inspiration for legendary TV detective Jane Tennison in Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect.
Jackie Malton was a no-nonsense girl from Leicestershire who joined the police force in the 1970s. It was a time of sex segregation in the police force. Male recruits were given a truncheon; female recruits received a handbag and were assigned social work duties. But Jackie desperately wanted to become a detective.
Feisty and determined, Jackie made her way into some of the most male-dominated departments of the police force. She worked in CID and the famous flying squad before rising to become one of only three female detective chief inspectors in the Metropolitan Police.
In The Real Prime Suspect, Malton describes the struggles she faced as an openly gay woman in the Metropolitan Police, where sexism and homophobia were rife.
Utterly compelling, the book is rich with fascinating cases and intriguing characters from Jackie’s time on the force. Jackie dealt with rapists, wife beaters, murderers, blackmailers and armed robbers but it was tackling the corruption in her own station that proved the most challenging. Ostracised and harassed by fellow officers furious that she reported the illegality of some colleagues, Malton used alcohol to curb her anxiety.
A chance meeting with writer Lynda La Plante five years later changed the course of her life. Together they worked on shaping Jane Tennison, one of TV’s most famous police characters, in the ground-breaking series Prime Suspect. Not long after, Malton recovered from alcoholism and now works as an AA volunteer in prison and as a TV consultant.
Jackie Malton is a true trailblazer. She forged a path in a male-dominated world and through it all she remained true to herself. Jackie has spent her life working in crime.
Now she’s ready to share her story.
About the author:
Jackie Malton was a police officer for twenty- eight years. During her career she worked in the drugs squad, CID, the flying squad (famously known as The Sweeney), fraud squad and as a hostage negotiator. She rose to become one of only three female detective chief inspectors in the Metropolitan Police.
Jackie has acted as an adviser on some of the most successful British crime dramas, including Prime Suspect, The Bill, Cracker, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Trial and Retribution and Murder Investigation Team. In 2019 she presented the documentary series, The Real Prime Suspect in which she revisited some of the most notorious murder cases. Most recently, she was interviewed for BBC 2’s documentary Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty; she appeared in Steve McQueen’s BAFTA-award-winning documentary Uprising about the New Cross Fire; and made a guest appearance on the new BBC Sounds podcast, Lady Killers with Lucy Worsley.
Jackie regularly gives talks on policing and currently volunteers in a male prison supporting offenders recovering from addiction.
Hélène Mulholland has been a journalist for over twenty years and previously worked at the Guardian as a political reporter. Hélène now works on a freelance basis.
The Real Prime Suspect is her first book.
The Real Prime Suspect is the fascinating and insightful memoir of Jackie Malton, who was the inspiration behind legendary TV detective Jane Tennison in Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect. Written with Hélène Mulholland, it is the deeply personal story of Jackie’s life as a no-nonsense girl who rose through the ranks of the police force in the 1970s, at a time when being a detective was still very much a part of a male dominated world. A true trailblazer, Jackie forged a path for herself as an openly gay woman in a Metropolitan Police force that at the time was rife with sexism and homophobia.
The Real Prime Suspect is an eye opening, gripping memoir that packs a real punch, never shying away from the dark and gritty aspects of the job, as well as shining a spotlight on the harassment and sexism that Jackie found herself subjected to, which in turn led her to lose herself in alcohol as a way to help ease her anxiety. But then a chance meeting with larger than life author Lynda La Plante changed the course of her life forever as, together, they worked on shaping Jane Tennison, the woman who became one of the most famous TV detectives of all time.
Told with raw honesty and humour, The Real Prime Suspect is an outstanding memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. It’s a testament to Jackie Malton’s strength of character that she was able to remain true to who she was as she worked her way up through the ranks, overcoming whatever obstacles were put in her way. She paved the way for those women who came after her and, without her, the character of Jane Tennison would never have even existed.
The Real Prime Suspect is a powerful, moving and inspirational memoir that I would highly recommend.
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