Crime Fiction Alphabet – F is for Frost
It is 1982, the world is focussing on events happening on islands at the bottom of the South Atlantic. But in Denton, the locals are focussing on something much closer to home, a murder. A young girl is found in woodland near a railway track. A first glance suicide?
Then whilst enjoying a round of golf at the new refurbished club house and course Superintendent Mullet is called to something at the ninth hole – a body, this time a young boy, positioned in a particular and peculiar way.
Detective Sergeant ‘Jack’ Frost and his colleagues are busy working on a spate of burglaries which happen to be rife in Denton. Resources are split thinner when these bodies appear and the hunt is now on for the killer.
With officers off sick, and on courses for new fangled computer equipment and the introduction of the area’s first ‘black’ officer, tensions are running high. This is a CID which thinks nothing of a few pints at lunchtime and going back to work. Of smoking in offices, and using rather heavy handed tactics with suspects. This is very much a police force of the 1980s, one that lives up to stereotypes but has no doubt a large element of truth within in. The author captures it very well.
Personal lives of these officers seem to take a back seat, and when they try and reach out for something other than work, they find it has already gone. Work is their saviour especially in the case of DS Frost.
When the dead boy’s sister goes missing, personal lives don’t exist as time is now running out to solve this murder and link them if there is a link. But for Frost and his colleagues they need to juggle the burglaries and the rather dubious massage parlour which is under the spotlight. Superintendent Mullet wants answers to everything and now.
Can Frost make sense of this jumble and get a result? Only by reading the book will you inevitably find out.
And yes, if you think the name is familiar it is the same Frost that David Jason plays on the television. This is set before Frost became an inspector. You can obviously see the dislike Superintendent Mullet has of Frost and more than likely the way he conducts his investigations and his lack of paperwork. I am sure Frost made Inspector on his policing and not his paper pushing.
This is the second book in a prequel to R.D.Wingfield’s original Frost novel and you have no need to have read these or the first, the book stands alone very well on its own.
I read one of Wingfield’s books many years ago when the television programme came out , but have little recollection of the book although the programme at the time kept faithful to the novel that I do remember.
I am always very wary of prequels they can go badly wrong, but I think this captures the policing of the eighties well and also has the relevant amount of red herrings and twists to make it a believable read where belief has no need to be suspended. A good crime novel as I say without having to know anything about the main character or R.D.Wingfield’s work.
This is the second novel and James Henry is the pseudonym in this case of just one author James Garbutt. The first novel First Frost is actually written by two authors James and Henry Sutton. I am intrigued at how that works when you actually write the novel?
I will add First Frost to my ever-growing wish list and also perhaps the original Frost novels too.
I read this as part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.