Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Touch of Frost

Some of you may be fans of David Jason's performance in A Touch of Frost, the long running detective series. Apart from the fact that he much to old and short to be a serving police officer and the series tends towards sentimentality - I enjoy it too.

So now that there are to be no more TV plays, I thought I would read one of the books that the series was based on - A Killing Frost by RD Wingfield.

It is clear that the books have a more rugged edge than the TV series. Frost is more exasperating and less lovable. He is an over-promoted detective sergeant who hates paperwork, relies on gut-instinct that is often wrong, performs searches without a warrant, longs for the days when he could beat a confession out of a suspect and has a heart of gold, especially where women and children are concerned.

He is foul-mouthed and sexually crude, offensive to authority, filthy in his habits and besotted with an earthier type of woman.

The books are 'poorly' written with short, verbless sentences and poorly presented in paperback with too few words on the page so as to make turning them a chore. They are however, very plot-dense, and the whole series of stories is neatly wrapped up in the denouement.

Frost as a genre is variably described by critics as a funny, frantic, utterly refreshing brew; as affecting, frightening and amusing; a crisp, confident, ripely-characterized novel, exciting, ingenious and roundly satisfying, multiple cases, multiple bodies, lashings of police-infighting. Fast furious and funny; Darker, funnier and more violent than the TV adaptation; a comic monster on the side of the angels; A cross between Rumpole and Columbo; More twists than a bucket of eels. And from the Guardian itself: A clever writer with an appealing line in cheekiness... Frost remains the most unattractive cop in mainstream crime fiction.

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