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Dick Francis

Dick Francis

Dick Francis - 31 October 1920 - 14 February 2010

Following service in the Second World War (as a pilot on the RAF)Dick became 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. On his retirement from the sport he published his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write forty-one bestselling novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), and the biography of Lester Piggott.

He is rightly acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world and is the winner of the prestigious Crime Writers' Association's Cartier Diamond Dagger and the only three-time recipient of the Mystery Writer of America's Edgar Award for Best Novel, winning for

  • Forfeit in 1970
  • Whip Hand in 1981
  • Come to Grief in 1996

In 1996 he was made a Grand Master for a lifetime's achievement. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2000.
Dick has written a novel a year, up until 2000, when he took a break following the death of his wife Mary, who was inspirational in helping with the necessary research for his books. (Some have suggested that she wrote the books).

His last two novels Dead Heat and now Silks - have been written in collaboration with his younger son, Felix.

Dick Francis photo

So what can you expected from a typical novel. They all follow a basic premise, someone connected to the racing industry, either directly or indirectly is faced with a threat. The hero then takes on the threat and eventually comes through. This may seem rather basic however the novels are all very good, because Dick has been writing for so long some of them have dated rather badly, for instance, a story is set around smuggling of 'The Pill' into Italy, and another has a polio victim.

Having said that the stories are basically sound, and still a good read. Values may change, but not as badly as technology can date, and that says a lot for the authorship of the books.

Most of the books are stand alone stories however you do have one or two series, although they tend to come at infrequent intervals. The best known series follows the adventures of Sid Halley.

In summary an author that writes straight forward crime thrillers, and very rarely lets you down. I was really disappointed when he announced his retirement, but over joyed when he started writing again. Dead Heat his return novel was a bit under par, but Silks the second novel is well on form and great testament to a great writer.

He will be sadly missed. Christmas, without a new Dick Francis novel will never be quite the same.


Felix Francis

Felix is the younger son of thriller writing legend Dick francis, with whom he co-wrote the four most recent Dick Francis novels, Dead Heat, Silks, Even Money and Crossfire, with Felix taking an increasingly greater role in the writing.

Felix trained as a physicist and spent seventeen years teaching A-level Physics before taking on the role of manager of his father, and then becoming an author. he lives in Oxfordshire.


The Francis Novels - Graphic Index - 16 March 2022
The Francis Novels - Text Index - 16 March 2022

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