R.D. WINGFIELD AND INSPECTOR FROST!
I’ve long been a fan of both R.D. Wingfield’s Inspector Frost novels and the televison series they spawned starring David Jason. I’ve just ordered the latest and unfortunately the last – due to the author’s untimely death – Frost novel a Killing Frost. I’m looking forward to curling up with it by the fire later this year when the temperatures drop appropriately.
I’ve also just come across emminent author and mystery critic Mike Ripley’s appreciation of Wingfield and his character published in the Shot’s Ezine.
I had, of course, no idea at that time of the story behind the creation of Inspector Frost, I just assumed that this slovenly, rude, put-upon, bumbling detective – who was at heart intensely human, shrewd and brave – had sprung, fully-formed from the author’s typewriter, perhaps as a reaction to the more cerebral sleuths such as Morse and Dalgliesh. I had certainly never come across a fictional detective like him before. Here was a policeman who had to juggle several cases at once (not just a murder and the traditional sub-plot), who was not above fiddling his mileage claims and the overtime statistics, who didn’t quote poetry or claim any esoteric specialist knowledge and who used the blackest of humour when confronted with the gruesome realities of his job.
Jack Frost seemed remarkably like many of the real CID detectives in West London I knew at the time, or at least a middle-age version of them. Here was a policeman you might not like, but it was a character anyone (other than those readers wearing Golden Age tinted spectacles) could recognise as an ordinary bloke doing a particularly unpleasant job.
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