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Author Topic: A Touch of Frost  (Read 8038 times)

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Charles King

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A Touch of Frost
« on: December 04, 2007, 02:47:13 PM »

I live near a funky video store, and I was prowling its shelves and came across this UK series. Pretty good, though paying four bucks for one show on a CD was kind of a ripoff. I wonder how much like they books they are? Are they first person, etc. ... Guess, I'll get off my duff and go find one. Anyway, it's a good series. Recommended.

Charles  8)
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B L McAllister

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 12:09:30 PM »

Netflix has "A Touch of Frost"--unless you need to own everything you see.  We pay about 5 bucks to watch two a month, but we're cheapskates, or we'd spring about twice that for "unlimited." Does this help?
Byron
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Books by Byron and Kay McAllister can most easily be obtained as e-books or in print from the publisher at http://www.writewordsinc.com/ For "Undercover Nudist," the print version is an improved version of the ebook version. The others are the same in both formats.

Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2007, 02:17:23 PM »

It's been a while, but I think there are some differences between the books and the series, However, since both are absolutely superb, I recommend watching/getting both.

Ingrid (huge fan)
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James

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008, 07:05:17 AM »

I haven't been posting here for a few months now, so I've only just seen this thread about Frost. Living in the UK (Scotland) I think I can add to the info on the books, which I love.

The author of the Frost books, R.D. Wingfield, died in July 2007. Though he sold the rights to the Frost books to a TV production company in 1992, he disliked the TV series, as he felt it had very little in common with the main thrust of the books as written by him. In the books, Inspector Frost was down-at-heel, unclean, sleazy, unorthodox, insubordinate, a chain-smoker and not above a little light thieving of cigarettes from the desk of his superior, Superintendent Mullett. The Frost of the TV series, as portrayed by Sir Divid Jason, is a dapper little man who, though unorthodox, is a million miles from the way Wingfield portrayed him.

There are five Inspector Frost novels and 34 episodes in the TV series. Before he died RD Wingfield wrote a sixth Frost book - Killing Frost, due for publication in April of this year in the UK.

Wingfield was a very private person who wrote radio plays before turning to Frost books. There are no photographs of him, and he lived quietly in a town in the south of England. He never attended book launches, he gave no interviews, nor did he do the literary party scene like so many authors do nowadays. However, he had a ready wit, and his emails to friends became legendary for their biting satire and off-the-wall humour.

Inspector Frost started out in a radio play, and MacMillan asked him to write a book based on the character for an advance of £50. He wrote Frost at Christmas, a huge book running to 250,000 words, which MacMillan turned down. It was later published in Canada, and then in the UK.

He has a huge following in the UK, and has largely taken over from Inspector Morse as the nation's favourite TV detective, thanks to the skills of David Jason. Malcolm Bradbury, the late writer of literary novels, and a professor of creatiev writing at Norwich University, whote the first scripts for the TV series.
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Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 10:03:20 AM »

Ah, yes, since I'm also a dyed in the wool fan and still consider the Frost novels the best of all the police procedurals (more famous authors notwithstanding), I'll chyme in again.  Yes, the character in the show is slightly toned down, but I distinctly recall cigarette thieving and dirty macs, as well as the continuous chomping on sandwiches and the utmost disrespect to his superior.  I don't think they have done at all badly by R. D. Wingfield.  The belated fame coming his way was apparently unsought and is partially due to the TV series.

Ingrid
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 12:14:31 PM »

I understand that Wingfield felt that the actor who played Frost in one of the early radio plays he wrote about him captured the character, as he conceived him, perfectly, and from that point, could see no other actor in the role.

Consequently, while he admired David Jason as a comic actor, he just wasn't able to see him as his character from the books.  I've heard that he never actually even watched a single episode of the series precisely because he couldn't see Jason as the character, and didn't want his own internal conception diluted.

Ironically, it was precisely because Jason admired the books so much that the TV series came about.  He was the one who pushed for a TV adaptation because he thought the character was so right for him, and, because of past successes, had the clout to get it produced.

Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 01:53:17 PM »

Hah!  And a very good thing, too.  :)  Trust Jim to know the ins and outs of it.
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penny

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 11:13:11 AM »

(more famous authors notwithstandingIngrid

I could never quite get this expression. Does it mean more famous authors are even better, or that even more famous authors are not as good?

Thanks,
Penny
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Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 12:59:21 PM »

The more famous authors are not nearly as good.  :)

Ingrid (who really loves to point out that sort of thing from time to time)
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Peg H

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 04:04:09 PM »

More famous...  they had a better publicist, ended up in the headlines for some reason, or had a rather spectacular death, not that they necessarily write better.

Peg H
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Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2008, 09:54:09 AM »

Indeed, Peg. 

I recall that many years ago, when I first joined MWF, Kathi and I had a disagreement about bestsellerdom. Kathi's, you all recall, was always the voice of experience. I was the brand new, naive author with my first award and contract. I asserted that I hoped I'd never become a best seller because I associated that with writing "crap." Kathy pointed out that, without sales, not even the best writer stays in publication.

I suspect Wingfield was one of those who became disenchanted and withdrew from the contest with a sneer for the reading public.

Ingrid
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2008, 02:39:49 PM »

Ingrid,

Here I have to disagree with you.

The Frost novels may never have made the best-seller lists at the New York Times or Publisher's Weekly, but they sold briskly enough that they went through at least two "standard-look" covers on this side of the Pond.

In the UK, where the TV show is extremely popular, I suspect he was, and is, a best-seller. 

I think Wingfield wrote few books because he was not a particularly prolific writer.  Not because he was an unsuccessful one.

Recall that Mickey Spillane wrote only seven novels (just one more than Wingfield), during his first phenomenal burst of popularity in the late '40's and early '50's, and then just seemed to stop.

He actually kept his hand in with short stories, articles, dramatic scripts, etc., but there were no new novels between 1952 and 1962.

The reason?  He didn't need the money.  With seven books continually in print (and those seven taking seven positions on the list of the ten best-selling novels of all time), and generating income, and ancillary income from movie, radio, comic strip, and TV adaptations,  he had no economic spur, and any creative itch he needed to scratch the short stories, etc., took care of.

Wingfield, with his novels continually in print, and a successful TV series (albeit one he didn't personally care for) generating income for him, can't be called unsuccessful.  He just didn't write very much.

Having started in radio drama (where Frost made his public debut, remember), he may have decided that prose wasn't really his metier.  Or he may have found that he didn't enjoy it as much.  Or his success may have given him the leisure to pursue other interests.

But it wasn't because he didn't sell.

Hell, I'd sure like to sell as "badly" as he did.

Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2008, 04:55:54 PM »

Okay, yes, Jim.  I think you pointed that out to me once before.  My problem is why he didn't become as well known as, say, Connelly or McBain, in this country.  Or even as well known as Colin Dexter, another fine British author.

But then, there is resistance to many American authors in the UK.

Still, I doubt it's the readers.  It's the publicity machine tht makes or breaks people.
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2008, 06:48:59 PM »

Ingrid,

Re your question below:

Okay, yes, Jim.  I think you pointed that out to me once before.  My problem is why he didn't become as well known as, say, Connelly or McBain, in this country.  Or even as well known as Colin Dexter, another fine British author.

McBain and Connelly are (were) both more prolific, and both built their audience over time.  Wingfield's books had already been published in the UK, and were published as a group over here.  He only wrote one or two more books in the series after the US debut of his novels (at least during his lifetime; I understand there's one posthumous novel coming, unless it's already arrived).  For practical purposes, he'd already quit the game by the time his books were published in America.  Hence, no large number of books; no build-up over time.

Plus Connelly's books are published in hardcover, and McBain switched to hard-cover (the earliest 87th Precincts were PBO's), and the "publicity machine" is generally geared to hardback writers.

In this country (I don't know about the UK), the Frost books were published as PBO's, and were, at least in their first American editions, tied in to the debut of the TV series in the US.  In the minds of many readers, they were probably thought to have been based on the TV series rather than the reverse.

And, finally, there's always the factors we can't understand.  Why does a Da Vinci Code, by most critical accounts a piece of meretricious crap, prosper beyond the dreams of avarice, while an Edgar-winning international thriller like The Faithful Spy fights for readers?

Ingrid

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Re: A Touch of Frost
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2008, 09:12:51 AM »

Absolutely, on most of what you say. Note, however, that the decision to publish in hc vs. pb is the publisher's.  And yes, it affects publicity in a major way.  Secondly, the impetus to continue writing a series is tied to the success of the first books.  Certainly there is no point in devoting a year to something that won't be picked up by a publisher.  And there is less incentive when the publisher doesn't really care if you turn out the next book double-quick.  A greAt deal depends on the publisher here.

The readers also have a function, but that is down the line. DVC was written to ring all the popular bells in all the mediocre minds.

Finally, the reviewers have to make choices:  will they review the outstanding books in the various genres, or the newest popular release.  Or all the newbies -- just because.
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