Friday, 29 June 2018

Widows by Lynda La Plante

When a security van heist goes disastrously wrong, three armed robbers are burnt to death, and three women are left widows.

Wealthy antique dealer/criminal/money launderer Harry Rawlins leaves behind not only his bereft widow Dolly, but a safe full of ledgers detailing Harry’s previous criminal activities (including the detailed plan for the robbery that went wrong). Dolly has three options: hand over the ledgers to the police; hand them over to Harry’s arch rivals the Fisher brothers; or finish off what Harry and his accomplices died trying to achieve.

After run-ins with both the police and the Fisher brothers, Dolly is reluctant to hand the ledgers over and instead recruits her fellow widows to steal one million pounds. Having a plan is one thing; executing it so they don’t get caught or even worse, end up as cinders, is something else.

Widows is the tie-in novel to Lynda La Plante first screenplay for television: the highly rated 1980s show ‘Widows’. When film director Steve McQueen bought the rights to adapt Widows into a movie, it inspired La Plante to edit and re-shape her original book, hoping to capture a new audience.
And for me she did.

As the drama unfolded I was torn. Did I want these band of ‘wannabe’ robbers to succeed where their professional criminal husbands failed, or did I want the police, in the form of the obnoxious but driven Chief Inspector George Resnick, to foil them and prove the old adage ‘crime doesn’t pay’?

With such strongly written female characters it was inevitable the reader ends up rooting for the underdogs as they battle against both the Fisher brothers and the police.

Not for the faint hearted (there are some grisly scenes) this fast paced crime novel is readable now as it was when it was first published in 1983.

Viewing the movie trailer online there are some radical changes from both the book and the television series not the least being it is set in modern day Chicago. With Gone girl author Gillian Flynn as the screen writer and a starring role for Liam Neeson the movie will be something to look out for.

Reviewed by Miss Moneypenny

Catalogue link: Widows

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