Books by Frank Smith

DEAD WEIGHT by Frank Smith
Released: March 1, 2017

"A bundle of loose ends dulls the impact of what begins as a brisk and unusual puzzler."
DCI Neil Paget (Night Fall, 2012, etc.) leads his team into an increasingly murky investigation of a matter that may not even be criminal. Read full book review >
NIGHT FALL by Frank Smith
Released: July 1, 2013

"The complicated back story takes Paget's 10th a step beyond a routine procedural."
A new boss provides a unique challenge for DCI Neil Paget (In the Shadow of Evil, 2012, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2012

"Smith takes the usual elements—dogged investigator, loyal subordinates, interfering boss, family plagued with secrets—and combines them to produce the usual result."
Family life can be messy, DCI Neil Paget (A Killing Resurrected, 2011, etc.) finds, when a retired surgeon's stepdaughter is brutally murdered. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2010

"Smith's quick pacing and clever clueing will delight both procedural fans and cold-case bloodhounds."
DCI Neil Paget (The Cold Hand of Malice, 2009, etc.) probes a stone-cold case that everyone—even the victims' families—would rather see left in the icebox. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2009

"Veteran Smith's procedural offers plenty of puzzle for the suspense aficionado."
A string of bizarre, destructive burglaries end in death when the owner of an engineering firm is found bludgeoned in her bed. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2008

"What begins as a routine police procedural somehow morphs into an tale of international intrigue without ever losing its taste for the mundane or the obvious."
A budding journalist disappears while chasing a story about dark doings in the English countryside. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 28, 2003

"Paget's struggle with physical trauma and the emotional jolt of taking a back seat to Tregalles in an investigation is almost as interesting as his falling in love again in that understated British way. Like all the Paget cases (Thread of Evidence, 2001, etc.), a jolly good show."
On a filthy night in Shropshire with the rain pouring down and the station house parking lot a sea of mud, DCI Neil Paget sees Constable Kate Regan safely to her car, but when he heads for his own vehicle he's waylaid and his throat cut. Luckily for him, an arriving batch of officers scare off the culprit and rush Paget to hospital. His loyal sidekick Sgt. Tregalles is assigned the case, with Supt. Alcott supervising. Suspicion falls first on Kate Regan's abusive husband Paul Marshall, whom she'd recently left. But things start moving again only with Paget's return to the fray. Sidestepping Alcott's insistence that he stay home and heal, he accompanies Tregalles on interviews, hares off to London in pursuit of a clue, and is bedeviled by fragmentary memories of that fateful night in which a raspy voice seems to be saying, "That's for Jill," Paget's wife, who died in the line of duty. Dogged police work eventually turns up a slew of other throat-cuttings followed by tormenting phone calls, and Paget finally gets the victims' family members to make the connection, but not before Grace, a precinct worker devoted to him, is held at knifepoint, and he almost loses his new love. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2001

Bad-tempered Jim Bolen, partial to the voluptuous girls supplied by obliging Tudor Hotel manager Norman Quint, may have been dispatched by an unusually scrawny one last seen sneaking out the hotel's back door barefoot. But in fact the badly bloodied young Vikki Lane has been set up to take the fall, and while she seeks safety with Good Samaritan Joanna Freeborn and her friend Bunny, the real murderer is stalking (and murdering) her prostitute roommate Simone Giraud and zeroing in on Vikki, the last possible eyewitness to his deed. Meantime, Shropshire Detective Chief Inspector Paget and his sidekick Sgt. Tregalles discover that Bolen's brother Harry, his real-estate partner in Bolen Brothers, along with the widowed Laura Bolen and their browbeaten accountant son John, all might have been thrown into bankruptcy had Bolen proceeded with his latest ambitious acquisition deal. In addition, Keith Lambert, the rival bidder, was not only his wife's former fiancé but a member of the family branch responsible for the work-related accident of Bolen's father. Poor Bunny, mistaken for Vikki, is almost strangled, and when both Vikki and her attacker come to visit her in the hospital, it's mere luck that Paget and Tregalles are on hand to stop more mayhem. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 4, 1999

Fortyish Beth Smallwood, widowed mother of good-for-nothing, drug-addict son Lenny, lives hand to mouth in a cottage in Shropshire, taking the bus every day to her bank job. She has lied in court to protect her son, has stolen money from the bank for him, and, in light of threats against his life by a gang he owes money to, reluctantly plans to steal more. Then, however, she's unexpectedly offered a promotion by boss Arthur Gresham, married but faithless, bypassing a furious, more experienced Harry Beecham—the price: an abusive sex session in Gresham's office, noted by secretary Rachel Fairmont, of whom Gresham has tired. That evening Beth is asked by the vicar of St. Justin's Church, where she's a volunteer, to prepare some candles for a next-day wedding. It's there she's found, dead of a blow to the head, by Detective Chief Inspector Neil Paget (Stone Dead, 1998, etc.), who was alerted by an anonymous phone call. Paget and his Detective Sergeant John Tregallis painstakingly interview the bank staff and all of Beth's neighbors and acquaintances (Lenny is near death in a hospital, beaten to a pulp by his drug supplier), finally uncovering the convoluted motive and an unlikely killer. Paget's persona is as attractive as ever, but all the salient points in the case are covered and monotonously re-covered, lessening crispness and pace. Still, a solid performance even so, and another boon to lovers of the British police procedural. Read full book review >
STONE DEAD by Frank Smith
Released: March 20, 1998

Photographer Peter Foster, enraged at finding his live-in model Lisa Remington in bed with her estranged husband, fashion designer Sean Merrick, unloaded a twelve-gauge shotgun at her and dumped her body into a well on the Bracken Cottage grounds. But the crime never would have been discovered if a pair of burglars hadn't inadvertently led Chief Inspector Neil Paget's men to the well and its grisly contents. Now that he's got the case, though, Paget soon finds that nothing about it is as it seems. The body in Foster's well isn't Lisa Remington; it isn't even, despite Foster's identification, Sean Merrick. So instead of arresting Foster for a murder he concealed, understated Paget digs deeper into the mystery of the murdered man's identity, even while Sgt. John Tregalles wonders where Lisa Remington has got to; what Crazy Eric Tyson, Foster's neighbor, saw that's made him so agitated; and who might be stalking Tregalles's own school-age daughter Olivia, calling her ``Wendy.'' As the intimate clutch of suspects accuse one another and excuse themselves, Paget and his squad (Fatal Flaw, 1996) patiently sift through lie after lie till the killer's run out of stories. Sterling goods for lovers of the British procedural, with a snakelike mystery that's still twisting and turning minutes before the final fadeout. Read full book review >
FATAL FLAW by Frank Smith
Released: July 8, 1996

Strange things are happening in the quiet country lanes of Shropshire, bailiwick of Detective Chief Inspector Neil Paget. The Thornton Hill School for Girls and Glenacres, a horse farm owned by Jack Lucas, are next-door neighbors. Paget is called to the school when 17-year-old Monica Shaw, a diabetic and the daughter of government economist Julia Shaw, is found dead in her bed the day after Christmas. Shy, awkward Monica, the only student in residence over the holidays, had been invited to a party at Glenacres the previous day by Sally Pritchard, one of the grooms, and had come back to the school drunk and distraught, according to sympathetic schoolmistress Jane Wolsey. Paget is thinking suicide (an overdose of insulin), but the autopsy finds death due to an aneurysm and the case is closed. In the meantime, a violent death has occurred at Glenacres, where Victor Prescott, a newcomer to the staff, has been killed—gruesomely—in one of the barns. As it turns out, Prescott was not his real name, and he appears to have had some dark connection to Dr. Andrea Macmillan, with whom Paget, a widower, had been enjoying a slowly flowering friendship. It takes another death, many misplaced suspicions, and some rigorous questioning before the haunting truth is bared. This first in a series from Canadian author Smith (Dragon's Breath, 1980) is suspenseful from the start, uncovering its tangled web of relationships—conventional and otherwise—at a leisurely pace: a sturdy '90s version of the British procedural, with Inspector Paget a model of the gentleman copper. Good show all round. Read full book review >