From the book cover: Mrs. Kerry Sanders, a rich American lady whose voice had overtones of silk hats, champagne, and Royal Lawns, and whose fingers were encrusted with diamonds, didn't think much of the weather, which was very wet. She sounded generally cranky. "This," she said in disbelief, "is Ascot goddam Sales?" It was. The wind was whistling through the ring's wooden O, and to one side of it, in the magnificent turn-of-the-century stable-yard's boxes, were the horses who would be offered for sale last in the program. Mrs. Sanders had asked Jonah Dereham, ex-prize-winning jockey, and now a horse buyer, to advise her-she wanted to buy a steeplechaser for a young man, who was the son of her special friend. They bought the horse Jonah decided on at the auction, for seven thousand five hundred dollars. "More than I authorized you to spend," the lady said. "And your commission on top, I guess, as well." She added, "In the States you couldn't buy a three-legged polo pony for that money." The young man for whom the horse was destined was Nicol Brevett-a hard, forceful young man, with a temper like a flamethrower. His father was Constantine Brevett, and Jonah feit that any woman who could interest Constantine Brevett had to be of a sophistication that would put Faberge eggs to shame. And-well, there was something more than wealth and sophistication involved in this horse trade. For as Jonah started to leave the sales, he was hit a crushing blow on the head, and a voice said to him, "We don't want your money. We want your horse." Jonah had suddenly become more entangled than was healthy in the corrupt and dangerous business the world of the horse buyer enfolds. This is a very exciting Dick Francis novel-and the reader will become more and more nervous as he follows the fast and chilling plot. "The announcement of a new Dick Francis is as promising of excitement as the bugle call to the post. Knockdown is one of his best, and his best is very good indeed," says Heywood Hale Broun. And the London Sunday Times says, "The superlatives for Mr. Francis' books are pretty nearly exhausted by now; so one can only say that this is another wonderfully effective horsey thriller, to do with bloodstock agents-sound stuff, Mr. Francis."
Jump in the saddle with a sure thing. Writer John Kendall travels to England to interview a racehorse trainer with something to hide-a secret that could threaten Kendall's life.
SMOKESCREEN: Edward Lincoln is a worldwide celebrity who plays detectives on the big screen. But when his godmother asks him to investigate her racehorses in South Africa, he's out of his depth. Soon enough, he's plunged into a plot of gold, greed, and gilded lives that forces him to uncover a killer and give a bravura performance he'll never give again. <P><P> KNOCKDOWN: For a generous commission, ex-prize-winning jockey Jonah Dereham reluctantly agrees to bid on a young steeplechaser on behalf of a wealthy American woman. But his life is thrust into danger immediately following the auction, when he receives a blow to the head by two thugs demanding ownership of the horse. Unfortunately, that's just the beginning-and now Jonah must figure out the high-stakes game being played...before he becomes its next casualty. <P> SLAYRIDE: British investigator David Cleveland has come to Oslo to investigate a champion jockey's disappearance right before the National, a race he was certain to win. But he's almost drowned in a fjord for his troubles. David knows accident and coincidence couldn't begin to explain this little mishap or the oncoming gruesome string of deaths that David Cleveland would find was meant to include his own.
Rob Finn was a bit of a misfit: a struggling young jockey in a family of accomplished musicians, a man in love with a beautiful woman who wouldn't have him -- he suddenly looked like a rider who had lost his nerve. Could it be, though, that the horses were unusually sluggish, and that there was something more sinister attempting to sabotage him. . . ' "The best thriller writer going. " ATLANTIC MONTHLY
After a fall from a racehorse that permanently crippled his hand, Sid Halley joined a detective agency. But it wasn't until some two-bit hoodlum drilled a slug into his side that he was sent out on a case of his own. That was where he met Zanna Martin, a woman who just might make life worth living again. But it was even-money that he'd be killed before she had the chance....
Wine merchant Tony Beach has expertly catered his latest society soiree, but the fun's over when a team of hit men crash the party...literally. The event leaves Tony with a bitter aftertaste of suspicion--and sets off a mystery that's an intoxicating blend of deception, intrigue, and murder.
Assigned to fly four racing buffs to the track, pilot Matt Shore is forced to make an emergency landing, and he soon finds out that the mob has been tampering with the horseracing industry.
Jockey Philip Nore is no ordinary hero. When Nore begins to suspect that a track photographer's fatal accident was really murder, he sets out to discover the truth and to trap the killer. Slowly, he unravels some nasty secrets of corruption, blackmail and murder--and unwittingly sets himself up as the killer's next target.
Roland Britten was an amateur jockey, and an accountant by profession, who woke up one morning and found he couldn't move his hands. He also could not see. And all he could hear was the noise of an engine, very close by. He finally decided he was lying in the dark, tied to a generator. But why? And where? And by whom? And what would happen next?
Dick Francis takes us on his most electrifying, death-defying ride yet in Second Wind. The catastrophic power of a giant hurricane can raise coastal waves thirty feet high and blow through houses at devastating speeds. For TV meteorologist Perry Stuart, however, such predictions are generally hypothetical, as he chiefly predicts periods of English drizzle, with bursts of heavier rain and sunshine to follow. Stuart's profound weather knowledge and accuracy have given him high status among forecasters, but no physical baptism by storm. Not, that is, until a fellow forecaster offers him a Caribbean hurricane-chasing ride in a small airplane as a holiday diversion. But a frightening accident teaches Stuart more secrets than wind speeds . . . and back home in England he faces threats and danger as deadly as anything nature can evolve.
When jockey Martin Stukely dies after a fall at Cheltenham, he accidentally embroils his friend Gerard Logan in a perilous search for a stolen videotape. Logan is a glassblower on the verge of widespread acclaim. Long accustomed to the frightful dangers inherent in molten glass and in maintaining a glassmaking furnace at never less than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, Logan is suddenly faced with terrifying threats to his business, his courage, and his life. Believing that the missing video holds the key to a priceless treasure, and wrongly convinced that Logan knows where to find it, criminal forces set out to press him for information he doesn't have. To survive, he realizes that he himself must sort out the truth. The final race to the tape throws more hazards in Logan's way than his dead jockey friend could ever have imagined. Glass shatters. Logan doesn't ...but it's a close-run thing.
From Dick Francis and his son, Felix, comes Geoffrey Mason-a defense barrister whose true passion is riding his Thoroughbred. Mason's two lives collide when a fellow jockey is accused of murdering a colleague with a pitchfork. Mason prefers not to get involved. But soon he is torn between doing what's right-and what will keep him alive.
[from the back cover:]British investigator David Cleveland hadn't come to Oslo dressed for the Norwegian weather. But he didn't know what cold really was until someone tried to drown him in a fjord. It could have been an accident that the speedboat cut David's dinghy into ribbons. Just as it could have been a coincidence that champion jockey Robert Sherman had disappeared from Norway right before the National, a race he was certain to win." Hired by the Norwegian Racing Association and out of compassion for Sherman's grieving, pregnant wife, David hires a good-natured, rubber-burning driver with a laid back giant of a dog and counts on help from his friend, Erne, a local race track security officer for help. Still investigating in a foreign country isn't easy, especially when at every turn David is at the wrong end of knives, and guns, and is even the target of a bomb.
Dick Francis is one of the best horsemen in England. He is also a suspense novelist. "A fine mystery writer-perhaps one of the best in the English language," says a reviewer in the Thoroughbred Record. "Dick Francis turns out to be a writer of champion class," says the London Times. "Mr. Francis is not only a very fine writer, but he is an authority on aspects of the thoroughbred scene," says Bing Crosby. Dick Francis (Welshman, ex-jockey, now Racing Editor of London's Sunday Express), author of such popular novels as Blood Sport and Flying Finish, talks about his early life in this informative, beguiling book which will fascinate racing fans and horse lovers and will be of great interest to the readers of his fiction. "I learned to ride, when I was five, on a donkey," says Dick Francis. He learned on his grandfather's farm in Pembrokeshire. His grandfather, Willie Thomas, "was a great man in the Victorian tradition. I remember him as a tall man and certainly he was a popular man. Nearly all our food came from the farm itself. Butter and cheese were made in the dairy and twice a week the great kitchen would be filled with the unique warm-winey smell of bread baking Although the smells and warmth of the kitchen were enticing, the stables drew me most. My grandfather rode to hounds regularly two or three days a week, and he was justly proud of his hunters which he used to breed with great care and success." During most of Dick Francis' childhood his father was the manager of W J. Smith's Hunting Stables and many of the Royal Family were among his father's pupils and patrons. Young Dick Francis had the opportunity to ride every sort of pony. Soon his father was asking his advice about horses and Dick was winning prizes as the "Best Boy Rider." He tells how he worked toward becoming a jockey, and describes vividly the day- to-day perils and pleasures of life as a steeplechase jockey. He talks about his war years with the R.A.F., compares American and English racing and gives firsthand information about many of the world's most famous tracks and famous horse owners. It all added up to an exciting life, and he shares it with his readers-up to the fatal moment when, leading the field in the 1956 Grand National, his horse, the Queen Mother's Devon Loch, fell mysteriously a breath away from the winning post.
As Derek Franklin, an injured steeplechase jockey, nears the end of his career, he is thrust into trouble and mayhem by the accidental death of his older brother Greville.
From the acclaimed master of mystery and suspense comes the story of a self-imposed outcast who must refresh his detection skills in order to save himself and his family.
Twenty-nine year old Alexander Kinloch is an unusual chap. With a fervor for the bagpipes and a talent for painting "the passions of golf ... the conflict within the self," he's not what you'd expect as the fourth son of a Scottish earl. When his ailing stepfather seeks Alexander's help in reviving his bankrupt brewery, Alexander begrudgingly leaves his secluded highland cabin and enters a "race" to save his family's honor. The King Alfred Gold Cup, a two mile steeplechase that exemplifies the pride of the brewery, is his challenge, and his assignment is to secure the cup trophy, a valuable medieval chalice. As he emerges from his life as a near recluse, Alexander begins to understand the benefits and the costs of becoming a hero.
Randall Draw couldn't say no to a Prince, could he? So he was headed to Russia -- the Prince's brother-in-law had his heart set on riding in the Olympics, and it seemed a jealous Russian woman had her heart set on killing him if he did. Leaving behind his well-bred horses and high-born girlfriend, Randall went to Moscow, little expecting that the sabotage and murder he'd find would pale in comparison to the unspeakable terror that followed....
A computerized horse-betting system falls into Jonathan Derry's hands--and unless he returns it to the rightful owners, the odds of his survival are slim to none.
Sid knows the perils of racing all too well, but in his day jockeys didn't usually cross the finish line with three .38 rounds in the chest-which is how he found Huw Walker, the winner of a coveted race only a few hours earlier. Now Halley's quest for answers will push him to his very limits-both on and off the track.
Ex-jockey and private investigator Sid Halley is approached by the wife of an elite racehorse trainer, who begs his help in figuring out why her husband's most promising horses have been performing so poorly. At first Halley thinks she's overreacting and the losing streak is just dumb luck. But now he's beginning to think it's something far more dangerous.
Valentine, a blind, confused and dying old man, seeking his peace with God, makes his last confession to a visiting friend, Thomas Lyon, mistaking him for a priest. This puts Thomas in a moral dilemma. Wild horses wouldn't drag from a priest the secrets of the confessional but then Thomas is not a priest.