Gurbutt and Sutton pack enough incidents into their prequel to generate an entire season of A Touch of Frost. Die-hard Frost...

FIRST FROST

Publisher James Gurbutt and crime reviewer Henry Sutton team up as James Henry to give readers another crack at R.D. Wingfield’s Jack Frost, hero of the long-running British television series A Touch of Frost.

The latest Frost is actually an earlier incarnation, working under Stanley Mullett as the newly minted superintendent tries to manage the “overstretched and under-resourced” Denton Division. His two detective inspectors, Jim Allen and Bert Williams, are out of action. Allen is on a walking tour in the mountains, and Williams is simply missing. That leaves Mullett his two detective constables, aging Arthur Hanlon and young, energetic Sue Clarke, along with DI Jack Frost, to deal with a rash of crimes that would stagger hardier forces. First, teenager Julie Hudson is snatched from a dressing room at Aster’s. Next, Julie’s mother, Wendy, is beaten nearly to death. Then, Vanessa Litchfield, a teacher at Julie’s school, finds a body in Denton Union Canal. Not to be outdone, single mom Liz Fraser reports that her toddler, Becky, has been attacked by a wild animal. Frost responds to these emergencies by turning off his police radio, revving up his Cortina and defying everyone, including his beleaguered boss, to rein him in. He stashes Becky Fraser in the hospital by launching a story of a rabies threat, browbeats the head of St. Mary’s School for Girls into telling more than she’d like about Ms. Litchfield, interviews and re-interviews anyone remotely connected to Julie Hudson. But as the bodies pile up and the threat level goes nuclear, Frost focuses more on Williams’ disappearance as the key to Denton’s crime wave.

Gurbutt and Sutton pack enough incidents into their prequel to generate an entire season of A Touch of Frost. Die-hard Frost fans will be pleased, but neophytes will more likely be sent into shock.

Pub Date: July 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-250-02553-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

ARCHIE GOES HOME

In Archie Goodwin's 15th adventure since the death of his creator, Rex Stout, his gossipy Aunt Edna Wainwright lures him from 34th Street to his carefully unnamed hometown in Ohio to investigate the death of a well-hated bank president.

Tom Blankenship, the local police chief, thinks there’s no case since Logan Mulgrew shot himself. But Archie’s mother, Marjorie Goodwin, and Aunt Edna know lots of people with reason to have killed him. Mulgrew drove rival banker Charles Purcell out of business, forcing Purcell to get work as an auto mechanic, and foreclosed on dairy farmer Harold Mapes’ spread. Lester Newman is convinced that Mulgrew murdered his ailing wife, Lester’s sister, so that he could romance her nurse, Carrie Yeager. And Donna Newman, Lester’s granddaughter, might have had an eye on her great-uncle’s substantial estate. Nor is Archie limited to mulling over his relatives’ gossip, for Trumpet reporter Verna Kay Padgett, whose apartment window was shot out the night her column raised questions about the alleged suicide, is perfectly willing to publish a floridly actionable summary of the leading suspects that delights her editor, shocks Archie, and infuriates everyone else. The one person missing is Archie’s boss, Nero Wolfe (Death of an Art Collector, 2019, etc.), and fans will breathe a sigh of relief when he appears at Marjorie’s door, debriefs Archie, notices a telltale clue, prepares dinner for everyone, sleeps on his discovery, and arranges a meeting of all parties in Marjorie’s living room in which he names the killer.

The parts with Nero Wolfe, the only character Goldsborough brings to life, are almost worth waiting for.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5040-5988-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Mysterious Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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