News, Culture & Society

Quickfire with writer Lynda La Plante

Writer Lynda La Plante on murder, a Mediterranean dream and being fired.

Writer Lynda La Plante has written a new novel called Murder Mile 

Guilty pleasure? I’m addicted to fudge and was once fired from a sweet shop I worked in for eating a whole tray of it.

Where is home? A rambling old manor house in Surrey, where I’ve lived for 25 years.

Career plan B? A fabric designer.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? Bette Midler – she can sing, dance, act and is also very funny.

Biggest bugbear? The unpleasant gunge that forms around taps.

As a child you wanted to be… A prima ballerina.

Secret to a happy relationship? I have no idea. I’ve had a number of what I believed were happy relationships that didn’t last.

Your best quality? Fearlessness.

And your worst? Impatience.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Not sending my ex-husband to jail for buying a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with my American Express card without telling me. He got the Harley in the divorce.

Last meal on earth? A BLT with avocado and Byron’s cheese and bacon fries.

Dream dinner-party guests? Oscar Wilde, Orson Welles, Marlon Brando, [film director] Abel Gance and Marlene Dietrich.

Advice to teenage self? Always get a second opinion.

Cat or dog? I have a cockapoo called Max.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Sadly, the same hairstyle I’ve had for most of my life.

On a day off we’d find you… Occasionally rowing on the River Thames with my son Lorcan and eating a very large ice cream.

Starstruck moment? Receiving my CBE from the Queen in 2008.

What was your big break? Widows, the first series I wrote for television in 1983.

Career highlight? The Baftas I won for Prime Suspect.

Favourite tipple? Tanqueray No Ten gin and tonic, ice and lemon.

Hangover cure? I don’t have one because I don’t drink to excess – I’m quite cheap to take out!

Top of your bucket list? I’d love to charter a big yacht, with a full crew and a chef, and take my close friends sailing round the Mediterranean.

One thing that would make your life better? A change in the law to make it impossible for murderers to be released on parole in cases where they refuse to reveal the whereabouts of the body. So many families never have closure.

Philosophy? Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

Biggest lesson you have learnt about money? Don’t spend it all – and remember you have to pay tax.

Biggest lesson you have learnt about men? Not to bother too much about them.

Last film that made you cry? Maudie with Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, which is brilliant.

Where would you time-travel to? To the days of Anne Bonny, the 18th-century female pirate who operated in the Caribbean.

Most extravagant purchase? A navy blue Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible about 20 years ago. I couldn’t really afford it and ended up despising my extravagance.

Best present you ever received? My divorce papers in 1996.

Biggest fear? Dementia.

Celebrity crush? I have only ever had one: Marlon Brando.

Happiness is… My son, who is 15 going on 40.

Lynda’s new novel, Murder Mile, featuring DS Jane Tennison, will be published on Thursday by Zaffre Publishing, price £18.99, to order a copy for £15.19 (a 20 per cent discount) until 2 September, visit or call 0844 571 0640, p&p is free on orders over £15.