Dick Francis, Wild Horses

£60.00

Dick Francis published “Dead Cert” in 1962 and a total of 42 thrillers until his death, aged 89 in 2010. During this period Francis made the action-suspense-detective story extremely popular and arguably forged the widest fan base of any writer before or since. A former jockey himself, horse racing always plays some part in his books. Although he had been been a novelist for over 30 years it had been suggested that his broader scope novels of the 1990s – exploring other interesting professions – were vintage Francis. This murder mystery story with hero-figure film director Thomas Lyon gives an insight into the world of film making. H R F Keating provided the appreciation.

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 Dick Francis published his first mystery, Dead Cert, in 1962. Since then, he has published 42 thrillers until his death, aged 89 in 2010. During his career as a crime writer made the action-suspense-detective story extremely popular and arguably forged the widest fan base of any writer before or since. Each year the new Dick Francis was almost always a guaranteed bestseller.

A former jockey himself, horse racing always plays some part in his books. He achieved success early with several books that are still read today such as For Kicks (1965), Flying Finish (1966) and Forfeit (1968). In range and power as a suspense and mystery writer Francis was probably unequalled. Not only were they good puzzle books, but they had a emotional impact. His books had a strong following internationally, and especially so in the United States were he was a Grand Master. They were often centred on modest hero-figures such as the racing correspondent James Tyrone in Forfeit who looked after his invalid wife (as Frances once did himself). Although he had been been a novelist for over 30 years it had been suggested that his broader scope of his novels in the 1990s were vintage Francis – they focused more on artistic professions – rather than on skulduggery in and around the racing circuit.

Plotline: Movie director Thomas Lyon came to Newmarket to rake the ashes of an old Jockey Club scandal for a new Hollywood film. Too late, he found himself listening to a blacksmith’s dying confession. Found himself watching as the past came violently back to life. Capturing the shockwaves over one woman’s macabre death nearly thirty years before is drama. But a frenzied knife attack on the set of Unstable Times is definitely attempted murder. Who stood to gain from the threats? Between truth and shadowy fiction, Thomas Lyon already knew too much. Following the real story could mean the difference between life and death. His own . . .

Wild Horses combines the racing world and film-making. It is a favourite with Francis fans and was issued in 1994 with a lovely appreciation by awarding winning crime writer and peer of Francis, H R F Keating. Keating reviewed many of the Francis books when he was crime reviewer for the London Times. The print run was 99 numbered and signed copies, plus some deluxe copies for presentation purposes.  All books sold out on publication.

5.00 out of 5

2 reviews for Dick Francis, Wild Horses

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Jerry on Goodreads on June 26, 2012 :

    Jerry on Goodreads rated it 5
    Were avid Dick Francis fans and thought we had read his entire booklist, but somehow missed this novel when it was new in 1994. What a delight awaited! It’s what we’d call one of his “research” books – while there is a minor backdrop of horse racing, it’s really about the making of a major motion picture about the (unsolved) mystery of a woman’s death some 25 years ago in a small English town setting. While the most desired familiar aspects of Francis’ work were surely on display, from the leading man who is nothing but admirable in every way, to mild sexual tension from the women that he meets – to us the real prize, in addition to the clever plot and irresistible whodunit, was that the story told from the eyes of the film’s director gave us an incredible insight into movie making. Indeed the roles of the director were explained in a way we hadn’t encountered before, as well as the importance of physical scene selection, lighting, the acting abilities of the players, and the ability of the director to coordinate diverse activities into a whole way greater than the sum of its parts.

    The plot is equally compelling, beginning with the death of a sick man befriended by our director who on his deathbed makes a mysterious confession. That provides clues about the very mystery being addressed in the movie, and we wonder all book long whether that actual whodunit might be solved, on top of the villainy that emerges as various real life players in the old story get increasingly agitated over the pursuit of their tale. A series of knifings along the way add to the suspense, and kept us on edge till the end.

    All-in-all, we’d rank “Wild Horses” among the author’s very best, high praise considering we’re talking a booklist some fifty titles long! Obviously, very highly recommended!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rating by e-notes.com on June 26, 2012 :

    e-notes.com
    Dick Francis published his first mystery, DEAD CERT, in 1962. Since then, he has published more than thirty mysteries. A new mystery from Francis is almost a guaranteed bestseller. A former jockey himself, horse racing always plays some part in one of his novels. The work of a very precise writer, WILD HORSES stands up as one of Francis’ most sure creations. An aging racing writer, Valentine Clark, reveals on his deathbed information that sheds new light on the twenty-five-year-old hanging of a horse trainer’s attractive wife. It is Thomas Lyon, a film director, who is visiting Clark and is on hand to hear the shocking revelation. Clark had believed that he was unburdening himself to a priest. The remarkable coincidence is that Lyon is in the process of making a film version of the woman’s tragic death. The film would be based on a novel that had been published about the case.
    Lyon soon learns that the making of the film will be a dangerous undertaking. The film is being shot on location in Newmarket, England, where the death had occurred. Lyon concludes that he must unravel the mystery of the twenty-five-year-old case. The wife’s death had been ruled a suicide, but Lyon is shocked into the realization that the death had to be a murder. After violence visits the film set, Lyon knows that there can be no turning back until the case is solved. WILD HORSES is vintage Francis.

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