“Just a few minor points if you don’t mind, Mr. Miller,” said Frost, whose finger had directed Webster to stand in front of the door, blocking their exit. “Please sit down. It shouldn’t take long.” He gave them a disarming smile as they returned to their chairs. “My trouble is gentlemen, I’m not very bright. There are a couple of things in your statements that don’t seem to add up. I’m sure it’s my stupidity, so if you could see your way clear to explaining . . .”
How could I have missed Jack Frost?
R.D. Wingfield’s A Touch of Frost is a police procedural with an unusual central character.
In about four days, Jack Frost and his assistant Webster investigate a mind-numbing series of crimes. First, they find a murdered drug addict in a filthy toilet. Then they investigate the latest in a string of serial rapes, the theft of money from a mob figure who runs a strip club, and the hit-and-run of an old man late at night.
They also look into the theft of a woman’s life savings all in gold sovereigns, an armed robbery in a local pawnshop, and the murder of a policeman.
Frost offends a rich and powerful British legislator. Then Frost does his best to save the life of a left-out, lowlife type that he knows did not commit murder.
In all my years of reading, how could I have missed all that?
Frost is a wonderful character, crude, and, to some extent incompetent. He knows his beat and the people of Denton well. He is insightful almost to a fault. He puts off paperwork, risking his colleagues' overtime pay. And he is ethical where there is every motivation not to be. In other words, he is not a crooked cop.
Others on the force become mired in sucking up to the powerful, trying to exploit their fellow cops to get ahead, and even more terrible things. Frost blunders through and does what is right.
I loved this book with its especially strong ending.
When I looked it up in other places, I found it is a classic of sorts, well-known, and long ago made into TV movies.
As I said at the first, how could I have missed Jack Frost?
But I did miss him, until now. Thanks to a blogger friend, I read my first Jack Frost. I guarantee. It will not be the last.