Tuesday, November 28, 2006

[Book Review] UNDER ORDERS by Dick Francis


Alice Kendall reviews UNDER ORDERS by Dick Francis (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2006):

This new book by Dick Francis is exactly what one has come to expect from the ex-champion jockey: fast paced, suspenseful, loads of fun. Sid Halley is back in a fourth novel featuring this ex-champion, one-armed ex-jockey turned private investigator. Francis has written 40 books of fiction including a book of short stories. Only the characters Kit Fielding and Sid Halley appeared more than once. Two of the Sid Halley books (Whip Hand, Come to Grief) received the Edgar (Allan Poe) Award from the Mystery Writers of America. So, it’s no wonder that after a lapse of 6 years, Francis’s favorite character is back.

The book starts with three deaths at the track on race day. One of the deaths is murder--three bullets in the chest usually indicates foul play. Since Sid had just been asked to check into the ethical practices of this dead jockey, he became involved. Shortly after the murder, he is asked to check into the possibility of corruption in online gambling. Are the two connected? Can online gambling sites profit from race fixing? Will Sid find the answers? Of course he will, but not before he has to face the horror of having those he loves endangered. Should I mention red herrings? Nah. All in all, this is a wonderful read with danger, affection and reconciliation all nicely handled with British reserve and aplomb. In short, this is a Dick Francis novel.

Alice Kendall, Parkway Village Branch Library

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