Dick Francis

Under Orders

"…the writing is right on the money - sharp dialogue and a plot that gallops along like a horse on the home straight!"


It is Cheltenham Gold Cup day and there have been three deaths in the same day. One was a spectator, one was a horse that had just won a race and the last was a jockey. The first two were natural, but there was nothing natural about the jockey found with three bullets in his chest. It had to be Sid Halley who stumbles over the body and it leads him along a very dangerous path of suspicion and threats.

Soon Sid is getting jobs from all directions. Someone wants to know why their horses aren’t running as well as they should. Another asks Sid to investigate a new acquaintance and his Internet gambling site. At the same time an old friend is under suspicion of race fixing – especially now his main jockey has been murdered. Then there is another violent death and Sid finds himself in the middle of a very nasty, devious plot. It doesn’t just involve Sid. His closest loved ones are suddenly in danger, too.

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Once upon a time you just knew it was nearly Christmas when you saw the new Dick Francis on the bookshop shelves. Across the globe, his latest book would be on top of many people’s list for Santa. After an absence of six years, Francis is back with a brand new book and an old favourite in the guise of Sid Halley. As with all his previous novels the writing is right on the money - sharp dialogue and a plot that gallops along like a horse on the home straight! Francis always manages to convey information about the intricacies of the racing world so that even a layman can understand the smart, devious betting manoeuvres that can occur on a racecourse. It was great to be re-introduced to old characters and to some new ones along the way. I instantly fell in love with Marina, Sid’s new partner. She’s bold, beautiful and really mirrored Halley’s character very well. I hope if Sid makes another return that Marina will not be far behind. In classic Francis style the plot is quickly under starters orders and racing away. Readers are drawn into the novel like a whirlwind and you simply can’t leave it alone until the very last page. Francis has always written what I feel are essentially adventure stories for adults. Under Orders certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s a marvellous, gripping read. Many thought we would never see another Dick Francis book grace our shelves. Reading this book is like welcoming back an old friend after a prolonged absence. Well, now he’s back in the saddle and I, for one, am already looking forward to the next meeting!

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