R.D. Wingfield,
A Killing Frost
(Bantam, 2008)

I am very sad as I write this review. It appears that Jack Frost has solved his last case. If so, the world of crime, detection and fun will be a much bleaker place.

I am not sure how well the Jack Frost television programs have traveled and whether fans of great crime in the U.S. have been privy to this excellent series. It is amazing to think the series has been sustained over such a long period, although creator R.D. Wingfield only wrote six books, including this one. Although reading each in turn I have found the ingredients of about a half-dozen programs in each.

Jack Frost is a sort of British Columbo but with much better lines and a classy gift for insubordination. He has been personified on television by the portrayal by David Jason, but this should in no way take from the talent and genius of the writer.

The plots are intense. The characterization is expert, although Skinner in the new book is a bit over the top. The one-liners are fast and furious and often very sarcastic and even non-PC cruel at times. Amazingly this is also "laugh out loud" writing that is not written strictly for laughs. The comments given to Frost fit expertly into the story and the language. They are extremely funny but also drive the story.

In this book we get the usual mix of crimes. Body parts are turning up in the woods. A rapist is on the loose. Someone is blackmailing the local supermarket and a few teenagers have gone missing. That is only the starters. We also have Frost at loggerheads with his superintendent, Mullet, and facing a transfer away from his beloved Denton.

As we move along we will find pedophiles, deranged butchers and crooked policemen as well as assorted other surprises, all of which are plausible and fit neatly into the tale.

This is a veritable page-turner. You never know what to expect next but you must find out for sure.

Be warned, if you read this book you will spend weeks seeking out the others and the TV series and then you will be devastated if Jack Frost has hung up his mac and scarf for the last time.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

15 November 2008

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new