BOOK REVIEW: UNDER ORDERS
Former Jockey Sid Halley lost the use of his left hand and thus is unable to ride any longer; he went on to become a private detective. He has a thriving business because his clients know that the more someone threatens him, the more he will go after that person and bring him or her to justice. On Cheltenham Gold Cup day, Lord Enstone hires Sid to find out why his horses arenít winning and he want to find out if his trainer Bill Burton and jockey Huw Walker have something to do with fixing the races.
Neither Bill nor Huw have a good reputation as rumors swirl that they are dirty. When one of Lord Enstoneís horses wins, Sid notices Bill and Huw argue. The sleuth later comes across Huwís bullet ridden body. Suspicion falls on Bill as the killer but the police donít have enough evidence to charge him. When his body is found by assistant trainer Juliet, the police assume he committed suicide rather than face a marathon jail sentence; Sid thinks murder occurred. He sets out to prove his premise, but by doing so he places his life and that of his lover Marina in danger.
It has been six years since the death of his beloved wife Mary and his last novel, but his fans will appreciate that Dick Francis has left the starting gate to cross the finish line with another first place showing as the master still has the winning ticket. Although the protagonist has to wear a prosthesis, he doesnít feel sorry for himself and that results in the audience caring about him and hoping he solves the case without his lover getting hurt. Welcome back Mr. Francis to the saddle, we missed your perfecta horse racing mysteries.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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