I always loved watching episodes of a touch of Frost on TV. I thought they were really great mystery stories — full of suspense and surprise endings — and I liked David Jason‘s portrayal of the crusty detective inspector. Until now, though, I’d never read any of the Frost books by RD Wingfield. I’ll have more to say about my 1st read of the Frost novels later, but I thought you might enjoy the opening of night Frost.
The old lady’s name was Mrs. Haynes – Mary Haynes, but no one had called her Mary for years, not since her husband died. She was seventy-eight years old and she stood on the doorstep trembling with fear.
She had just come back from the churchyard. She went there every Sunday, weather permitting, to tidy up her husband’s grave and put fresh flowers in the cut glass vase that had once stood on the dark oak sideboard they had bought the first year they were married and which was now in the unused back room. Today, when she reached the churchyard the vicar was waiting for her, his face grim. ‘I’m afraid you must prepare yourself for a shock, Mrs. Haynes.’
When she saw what they had done to the grave she thought she was going to pass out. The headstone she had saved for so carefully was desecrated with purple painted graffiti. A crudely drawn skull and cross bones and words she couldn’t bring herself to repeat defaced her husband’s name. The vase had been hurled against the headstone and smashed to pieces.
The vicar was most sympathetic. He and his curate had been comforting distraught mourners all day. Vandals had left a trail of broken headstones, graffiti and strewn wreaths in the mindless moronic orgy of destruction. The police had been informed, he assured her, and had promised that the cemetery would be kept under constant observation in the hope of catching the perpetrators in the act.
She couldn’t remember the journey home, her mind in a whirl at what had happened. Such a relief to creak open the front gate. But at the tiny porch another shock. As she fumbled in her purse for the key she noticed that the porch doormat had been moved. She was ever so careful how she replaced it when she had the spare door key and there was no doubt it had been moved.
Hands shaking, she lifted the corner of the mat. The key wasn’t there. Someone had taken it. Perhaps even used it to get inside. She stepped back and looked up at the house. Was it her imagination, or had the bedroom curtains shivered as if someone had just twitched them shut?
Her gloved hand clutched her chest to hold the hurt of her fluttering heart. She needed help. Anyone’s help. A light was on next door where that awful young man with the motorbike lived. She staggered across and press the doorbell. She could hear it ringing inside the house. No-one came. She pressed it again.
Upstairs in the bedroom, the man with the knife smiled to himself and patiently waited.
Now that’s a great opening! Fraught with angst, steeped in anguish, and propelling the reader into the thick of it, instilling a compulsion to keep turning those pages.
A Touch of Frost DVDs and DI Jack Frost Investigation novels are available at Amazon, and other places where books and DVDs are sold.