Dick Francis was born in South Wales in 1920. He was a young rider of distinction winning awards and trophies at horse shows throughout the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, flying fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster.
He became one of the most successful postwar steeplechase jockeys, winning more than 350 races and riding for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. After his retirement from the saddle in 1957, he published an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write more than forty acclaimed books, including the New York Times bestsellers Even Money and Silks. A three-time Edgar Award winner, he also received the prestigious Crime Writers' Association's Cartier Diamond Dagger, was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000. He died in February 2010, at age eighty-nine, and remains among the greatest thriller writers of all time.
The reliable Francis ( Straight ) delivers again, this time in a thriller featuring young author John Kendall. Kendall writes survival manuals for an adventure-travel agency, but has taken time off to pen a novel. When money runs thin, he agrees to write the biography of famed horse trainer Tremayne Vickers. Leaving London for Vickers's Berkshire home, Kendall arrives as one of Vickers's two principal riders is acquitted of murdering a young woman with whom he'd quarreled. However, members of Vickers's entourage, including sons Gareth and Perkin and Perkin's wife, Mackie, suggest the hot-tempered jockey had some part in the death. Kendall fits easily into the household, conducting research, taking notes, even cooking and working horses; then the body of a missing stablegirl is found in the woods. As Kendall's research continues, his riding skills improve and he is taken into Vickers's confidence, the intrepid writer finds himself under attack. Horses, danger, betrayal and doing the right thing--expected components of a vintage Francis yarn--permeate a plot presented with authority and verve. Paperback rights to Fawcett. ( Oct.)
Praise for Longshot
"Intelligent, fast-paced."--The New York Times Book Review "One of his most appealing stories ever."--The Denver Post