R D Wingfield, Hard Frost


The character Detective Inspector “Jack” Frost is known many television viewers. He was created by R D Wingfield, a part-time writer of radio scripts, turned reluctant crime writer. This is the deluxe lettered, one of just 15 handsomely bound copies.

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Rodney Wingfield (1928 – 2007) was a modest, but likable gent with a cheeky sense of humour. He’d had various jobs including a clerk for an oil company and decided to write radio scripts as an outlet for his comic talent. He unfortunately had a very long wait before his first Frost book was accepted in Canada. It was when the Frost books were issued in the United Kingdom (1989 and 1990) and were turned in one of the the most watched television series ‘A Touch of Frost’ (beginning in 1992 to 2009) that Wingfield became a much sought-after crime writer.

The skills that he had honed as a script writer enabled him to hold together complicated plots; his books contained off the page real characters, black humour and a knack for detail and making the trivial rather important. Jack Frost was a chain-smoking dinosaur with slightly reactionary views. He was a disaster at paperwork, and was always in trouble with his superiors, but he possessed a sixth-sense that may or may not prove right. He was terribly human.

This is the deluxe lettered edition (of 15 copies) – the ordinary numbered are long since gone. It is signed by Rodney Wingfield and Alex Keegan who wrote an appreciation.

4.50 out of 5

2 reviews for R D Wingfield, Hard Frost

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rating by Stuart McBride on April 9, 2012 :

    Comments from the crime writer Stuart McBride’s website blog:
    “ … I first discovered Rodney David Wingfield back when I was a code-monkey working for an internet company. I popped out one lunchtime, looking for a book to read with my sandwich and there, in Dillons was a name I vaguely remembered from the opening titles of A Touch Of Frost on the telly. So I bought the first one in the series, went back to my desk and read while I ate. Fifteen minutes later I was back in the bookshop buying everything else I could find by the man.

    I know that Rodney wasn’t the biggest fan of the TV series, but I have to admit that I have a soft spot for it. Without it I might never have discovered the books. I can see his point though: on television David Jason’s Frost is avuncular and a little unruly; but Wingfield’s Frost is irascible, scruffy, rude, petty, funny, kind hearted, filthy, he cuts corners, he cares, he’s generous.. He’s a walking bag of contradictions in a scruffy mac and tatty maroon scarf, and that’s what makes him so human.

    Rodney’s plots were twisted, layered and interwoven; his characters flawed, funny and human; his sense of pace and dialogue second to none. If can ever manage to be even a third as good a writer as he was I’ll consider myself to be very lucky indeed…”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Alex Keegan on May 18, 2012 :

    An Extract from the Appreciation by Alex Keegan

    “In an age where I recently heard a publisher’s rep tell a buyer, “You’ll like this one. It’s really unusual, got a male detective.” At a time when people are no longer ‘deaf’ or ‘black’ or ‘fat’ or ‘bald’ and where permission in writing is needed for every sexual endeavour, stumbling on to the politically incorrect Detective Inspector Jack Frost is like breaking out into the fresh-air from a smoke-filled room or at last finding water in a heartless sun-seared desert. Jack Frost is a bloke. And blokes are all right. I fancy that Rodney Wingfield ‘s attitudes to life are not that distant from his scruffy, irreverent, muddling-through DI. In an excellent article he wrote for Writers’ News in 1984, he cheerfully confessed that being a writer (of radio scripts) was good fun but that being an author was a ‘bloody swine’. In an hilarious account of the ups and downs of getting published as an author he recorded how writing his first detective novel was an uphill slog – beginning as long ago as 1972 it took until 1984 to get into print, and then as a paperback! Along the way he recited the many occasions his manuscript was rejected. Yet occasionally some publishers’ readers warmed to the unconventional detective and its author’s straightforward prose style. And when I interviewed Rodney and asked why he had chosen his naive, direct style he responded, “Choose? I didn’t choose. That’s it, me, the only way I can write. I just get on with telling the story.” And there lies the core truths of R D Wingfield’s Frost books. They are funny, occasionally frantic, irreverent, stories filled to overflowing with office animals and empire builders who incidentally sometimes catch villains; while the cigarette-stealing, apparently blundering Detective Sergeant (somehow an Inspector) stumbles along the narrow line between the sack, transfer and sudden death, ignoring paperwork, forensics and procedure. However the warm-hearted Frost is dedicated to the pursuit of the truth. It’s difficult not to like Jack Frost.”

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