February 14, 2010

R.I.P., Dick Francis

Mr. Francis, who wrote 38 mystery novels, a collection of short stories, and an autobiography, has died at 89.

He spent nine years as a jockey before retiring in the late 1950s and published his first book in 1962. I don't remember how I first came across him, but I've been a fan since the mid-1960s. I bought or was given every one of his books until his first retirement in 2000. I was very happy when he returned to writing in 2006. His last three books have been co-written with his son Felix; I've read the first two. The first was so-so, the second showed signs of the old Francis, and I'm anxious to read the latest to see if the younger Francis can carry on the style.

His stories nearly always had racing as a backdrop for crime, and they gave the reader a window to that world. If I were to recommend ones to start with, I'd say Nerve, Dead Cert, Break In, and the Sid Halley quartet beginning with Odds Against.

I'll miss knowing there will be a new Francis book every November. Thank you, sir.

Posted by Linkmeister at February 14, 2010 10:07 AM | TrackBack