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A Touch of Frost

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

downloadIn his first book, David Jason told us about his life so far, from his time growing up at Lodge Lane, Finchley to the TV actor we all know and love today. In this, the follow-up, he tells us more about the characters he has portrayed from Granville in Open All Hours, Frost and not forgetting Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter from Only Fools and Horses.

I am a huge fan of David Jason and over the years I have loved his portrayal of some of the most iconic characters on British TV, my favourites being the aforementioned Del Boy and Detective Inspector Jack Frost. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Blanco from Porridge and was pleased to see him referenced in this book. Only Fools and Stories is a delightful behind-the-scenes look at all of these programmes featuring numerous tales that I had never heard before. It was satisfying to read about the genuine friendships that developed on Only Fools and Horses and I enjoyed the stories of practical jokes played on other members of the cast.

It was interesting to see how the different characters came about and his role in developing them. I was disappointed to read that there was potentially a Frost spin-off in the pipeline, featuring the retired detective as a private investigator, but that it never materialized. I would have loved to have watched Frost’s continuing development.

One of the things I enjoy about David Jason’s style of writing it that it is easy to imagine his voice as you read the words. This made it a very entertaining read and a perfect follow-on to this previous autobiography. I just hope that he continues to entertain us for years to come, providing him with enough material for a third autobiography.

Frost at Midnight by James Henry

With only days to go until his wedding to fellow police officer Kim Myles, Detective Sergeant Waters finds his preparations thrown into disarray when the body of a woman is found on a gravestone at the church where the ceremony is due to take place. Coupled with the fact that his best man is the dishevelled Jack Frost, this marriage looks doomed from the start! When another local woman goes missing, Frost knows that time is of the essence if he is to find her alive.

Frost at Midnight is the fourth of the prequels to R. D. Wingfield’s Touch of Frost, the book that was the inspiration behind the incredibly popular TV series starring David Jason. I can remember reading, and enjoying, Wingfield’s books but feeling as though the character of Frost, compared to the portrayal of him on TV, was completely different – a problem with watching the series before reading the books. In Frost at Midnight, however, I found that I was imagining David Jason delivering the lines, making this book a must-read for all fans of the ITV show.

By setting the prequels in the 1980s, we get the opportunity to experience the opinions of the time such as the attitudes some people had towards black officers. There are also some great cultural references, firmly placing the book in 1983. Watching Frost attempting to come to terms with the new computers and his much-hated pager was very reminiscent of the TV show where his filing system, or lack of it, left a lot to be desired!

The crimes within the book are well thought out and entertaining. One of the cases is particularly gruesome and I had much sympathy for the poor officer who chanced upon the body! Like all Frost books, though, there is an element of humour running throughout, making this a gripping and enjoyable read. There is definitely more scope for further prequels!

With thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley for the ARC.

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