fredag den 18. december 2009

R.D. Wingfield, Frost at Christmas (1986)


This British police procedural is the first of six novels about Inspector Jack Frost. The British TV series may be more famous than the books, but in my opinion Wingfield´s books are far better than the television episodes.

Eight-year-old Tracey Uphill never returns from Sunday school [link], and Inspector Frost is put on the case together with the new man, DC Clive Barnard, the ambitious nephew of a policeman of high rank. As Tracey is the daughter of a prostitute, Frost begins by taking a closer look at the mother´s acquaintances, as well as anything else he stumbles upon.

Soon Frost and Barnard are involved in an old bank robbery, including a more than thirty-year-old body. As usual, Frost leaves a trail of digressions, disorder and broken rules behind him, but his instincts are sound and his heart is in the right place. Clive Barnard is not exactly thrilled to work for this careless and untidy fool, however, and Frost´s superior, Superintendent Mullett, is just looking for an excuse to get rid of Frost.

Some of the suspects are one of Tracey´s mother´s customers, the local vicar who sounds just a tad too nonchalant and hides some daring photos, and perhaps her own girlfriend, eleven-year-old Audrey is not as innocent as she should be.

Of course Inspector Frost solves his cases in the end, including the old bank robbery, but not without the assistance of his copper´s instinct and the odd coincidence.

See my review of the third Frost story, Night Frost

R.D. Wingfield, Frost ved juletid (1997).
Denne britiske politikrimi er den første af seks romaner om vicekommissær Jack Frost. Han er muligvis bedre kendt fra den britiske TV-serie, ”A Touch of Frost”, men efter min mening er Wingfields krimier af langt højere kvalitet.

Otteårige Tracey Uphill kommer aldrig hjem fra søndagsskole, og vicekommissær Frost bliver sat på sagen sammen med stationens nye mand, kriminalbetjent Clive Barnard, som er politimesterens nevø. Da Traceys mor er prostitueret, begynder Frost med at kigge nærmere på moderens kunder, og på alt andet, han tilfældigvis snubler over på sin vej.

Snart bliver Frost og Barnard også indblandet i et gammelt bankrøveri, da et over tredive år gammelt lig dukker op af jorden. Sin vane tro, efterlader Frost et spor af sidespring, uorden og brudte regler i kølvandet bag sig, men han kan sit kram og har hjertet på rette sted. Barnard er imidlertid ikke særlig tilfreds med at arbejde for det gamle, rodede fjols, og Frosts overordnede, politiinspektør Mullett, venter bare på en god grund til at slippe af med sin uregerlige vicekommissær.

Blandt de mistænkte er en af moderens kunder, og den lokale sognepræst, som lyder lige lidt for uinteresseret og samler på vovede fotos, og måske er Traceys elleveårige veninde heller ikke så uskyldig, som hun burde være.

Selvfølgelig opklarer Frost både forsvindingssagen og bankrøveriet til slut, men ikke uden hjælp fra sit instinkt og tilfældige sammentræf.

Se min anmeldelse af Nattens frost.

9 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this excellent review : ). I enjoy Inspector Frost, even if he does break the rules and, as you say, leave his share of messes. That's what makes him all the more interesting : ).

Kate S. sagde ...

I love this series! I agree that the books are better than the TV series although I quite enjoy the TV Frost as well. I think that the qualities that make Frost such a bracing character on the page might have come off as downright offensive on screen, so perhaps the TV writers adapted him appropriately for a different medium. I gather that Wingfield didn't like how they altered his creation though.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: yes, the Frost of the books is rather engaging and unassuming :D

Kate: it is a pity that Wingfield only wrote six books.

I don´t think I minded the TV series so much in the beginning, but I think the episodes are very similar. Perhaps we have just seen them all far too many times.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

I love cold cases and I've forgotten this book enough that I could read it again! :)

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: I am glad I picked these Christmas novels; my readers seem to enjoy being reminded of the Frost series :D

Kerrie sagde ...

Thanks for this contribution Dorte. I enjoyed the book myself and thought it might be the one you were referring to in your Bait post. I also liked the TV series. I've never seen that cover before - quite interesting in itself

Dorte H sagde ...

Kerrie: I try to make my baits Christmas-related this month. But please don´t ask me where I got that Christmassy cover from ;) I firmly believe that authors or publishers cannot mind bloggers borrowing their covers if they write positive reviews of their books.

....Petty Witter sagde ...

I'm with you Dorte, I don't like the tv series but was quite impressed with the two Frost books I read.

Dorte H sagde ...

Petty Witter: yes, books are better, aren´t they? :D