Dick Francis was one of the most successful post-war National Hunt jockeys. The winner of over 350 races, he was champion jockey in 1953/1954 and rode for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, most famously on Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National. On his retirement from the saddle, he published his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write forty-three bestselling novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), and the biography of Lester Piggott.During his lifetime Dick Francis received many awards, amongst them the prestigious Crime Writers' Association's Cartier Diamond Dagger for his outstanding contribution to the genre, and three 'best novel' Edgar Allan Poe awards from The Mystery Writers of America. In 1996 he was named by them as Grand Master for a lifetime's achievement. In 1998 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2000.Dick Francis died in February 2010, at the age of eighty-nine, but he remains one of the greatest thriller writers of all time.
No word yet on the plot of this latest thriller from the author of such best sellers as Decider (Putnam, 1993), but it's a good bet that the cast features plenty of horses and jockeys.
Francis fans will welcome the return of narrator Sid Halley (Odds Against; Whip Hand) as the one-handed PI and ex-jockey takes on a case of multiple mutilations of thoroughbreds; unnervingly, the amputation of the animals' front left hooves mirrors Sid's own injury. The investigator soon realizes that the man behind the crimes is his old friend Ellis Quint, ex-gentleman jockey and now a beloved TV host. Sick at heart, Sid builds a strong case; but, when Quint is charged, British law bars any public discussion of the case, rendering Sid mute at the huge public backlash against him. Particularly vicious and unrelenting is The Pump, a garish tabloid. When another mutilation occurs and Ellis has a seemingly unbreakable alibi, Sid finds some odd connections between a business tycoon, The Pump's noble owner and Ellis. Finally, the honorable, brave and thoroughly decent Sid faces his worst nightmare‘the loss of his good hand‘while doing what he must. A subplot about a little girl with leukemia offers some touching sentiment, and there are flashes of dry wit throughout as Francis, who turns 75 later this year, proves himself still at the top of his game. BOMC featured alternate; Reader's Digest Condensed Book; simultaneous Simon & Schuster audio; author tour. (Sept.)
YA‘The champion jockey turned detective, Sid Halley, returns in this mystery to find the perpetrator of heinous crimes committed against prize-winning horses that are not insured. The horse community rejects his findings and does everything in its power to stop the investigation. Physical force, slanderous newspaper stories, and bugged phones are some of the tactics used to discredit and demoralize Halley. Fortunately, the nature of the crime is so unnerving that some powerful people enter the scene demanding that he finish his work. Francis has once again created a plausible mystery that can't be solved before finishing the book. The reading is easy and descriptive. The story, set in the present, includes characters and situations that will appeal to teen readers...especially horse lovers. Another Blue Ribbon selection from this notable author.‘Linda A. Vretos, West Springfield High School, Springfield, VA