Dick Francis and Felix Francis - Silks
"... runs at a galloping pace right from the starting post."
Geoffrey Mason is a barrister who has just lost the case brought against his client, Julian Trent. Even more upsetting is the fact that the jury took so long to come back with a ‘guilty’ verdict that he missed his chance of riding his horse in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham. But winning and losing is part of a barrister’s lot. Back in the saddle, Mason notes different rivalries between the jockeys, especially the rivalry of Steve Mitchell and Scot Barlow that teeters on pure anger. After a day at the races, Mason finds Barlow in the showers, beaten and bruised. The man blames Steve Mitchell but his attitude towards Mason as an amateur jockey does not endear him to the wounded man.
Soon, Scot is found dead with a pitchfork sticking out of his chest. Betting slips belonging to Mitchell are attached to the prongs. All the evidence seems to point to Mitchell killing the man after their hatred of each other bubbled up and burst out of control. The condemned man calls for Mason to be his defence but Mason is getting whispered calls to take the case and lose it. Also, there are the threatening letters containing photographs of his father and the inside of his house. These people are everywhere in his life and it seems they will do anything to get the ‘guilty’ verdict they are so desperate to acquire.
This latest novel from the Dick Francis stable continues the flavour of the previous books from this great writer. Both Dick Francis and his son, Felix, work closely on these new novels. With Silks, Messrs Francis have given us an energetic novel that runs at a galloping pace right from the starting post.
During his long reign as the monarch of racing crime, Dick Francis gave us many characters who used violence as their way of dealing with unpleasant situations. In Silks we meet the vile Julian Trent who our hero failed to get off on a charge of GBH. After an appeal the man is out of prison within months, instead of years. Soon, the odious Mr. Trent is wielding his baseball bat and making his threatening personality felt throughout proceedings.
Messrs Francis have breathed new life into a franchise that had sadly been missing from our Christmas lists for a few years. Now it is back - and with the help of Felix, the Francis name is yet again resplendently positioned back on our bookshelves. Like many books of the genre, Silks isn’t going to give you any answers to the meaning of life or the universe, but it is certainly a rollicking good, escapist read. And, as always, the solution to all the shenanigans is based within the horseracing world. Silks should easily gallop King Dick and Prince Felix back into the best-sellers list!
Reviewed by: C.S.