Monday, August 3, 2009

Dick and Felix - the odd couple?

I am not one of those people who are in love with horses. I did not grow up loving them. I did not grow up wanting to read about them. Horses are just not my cup of tea (or bucket of oats) or whatever. But I really must confess I love a Dick Francis mystery.

I was reluctant to even try one at first – for the above mentioned reasons. But Francis’ mysteries – although set firmly in the horse-racing milieu in England (for the most part) are not just about horses and horse racing but about all aspects of this interesting and unusual world. And his books are peopled with characters that I often come to admire and respect and villains that are just plain bad.

One of my favorite titles is In the Frame which is actually about a gentleman, Charles Todd, who paints horses. Some of this book takes place in Australia at one of the biggest races there, the Melbourne Cup. There is one memorable passage wherein Todd is trying to distract some thugs who have arrived at the hotel room of his friends and the only thing he can think to do is send everyone from every service imaginable at the hotel to his friends’ rooms – room service, the maids, the chauffeurs, the hairdressers, the barbers – whatever – and as all these curious hotel workers arrive at the room Todd manages to smuggle his friends out. It is riotous: I laughed till I cried.

Other good titles include: Whip Hand (about Sid Halley, jockey turned detective); Proof (with Tony Beach, a wine merchant who caters racing parties); and Risk (with Roland Britten, an accountant).

As Mr. Dick Francis ages (born in 1920, he is currently 89 years young) he has enlisted the help of his son, Felix, as co-writer. Felix is a former teacher (of physics!) and onetime researcher for his father’s books. Now they are writing in collaboration and the two titles they have produced thus far, Dead Heat and Silks, have been just as popular and just as fascinating as previous titles. Check out their web site for more information on this collaboration and on both of them.

Their new title in collaboration, Even Money, about bookmaker and amateur investigator Ed Talbot, is due out this month.



blogger templates | Make Money Online