Showing posts with label Felix Francis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Felix Francis. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2024

No Reserve by Felix Francis – Book Review


A Dick Francis Novel

Race Horses in stalls

Author Felix Francis continues following in his father's footsteps with the series of books which are always placed in the horse racing world in Great Britain.  Each main character in these books written first by Dick Francis, and then continued on by his son, Felix Francis, is related in some way to horse racing.  The character may be a jockey, a horse trainer or owner, or in some way work in a related field. 

In this latest book, No Reserve, the reader gets to follow the actions and adventures of an auctioneer in Newmarket at the bloodstock yearling sales.

Synopsis of No Reserve

The higher the stakes, the greater the risk.... 

Theo Jennings has been working for a bloodstock sales company these past three years, hoping to continue climbing the ladder in his chosen field. On Day 1 of the Newmarket October sales he makes his first-ever multimillion-dollar sale of a yearling colt. A few days after the sale, Theo finds out that the colt has died. After having accidentally overhearing a conversation about that colt and insurance, he becomes suspicious that foul play was involved. 

Theo begins to investigate the death of the colt, with the help of a young woman friend who works in the accounting department of the sales company. But no one really wants to talk to him or answer any questions. Then a person's body is found in the same stable where the colt was found dead. 

Suddenly, Theo finds fingers pointed at him and his world turns upside down with the accusations. The only way to clear his name is to find the real murderer. 


Another exciting adventure in the English world of race horses by mystery writer, Felix Francis. A thoroughbred thriller for sure! 

Related Links:

*Book Review of No Reserve written by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, December 10, 2022

ICED by Felix Francis – Book Review

ICED is the latest horseracing mystery by Felix Francis, son of the British crime writer Dick Francis.

Image of Icicles


Iced book cover
Miles Pussett grew up wanting more than anything to be a championship steeplechase jockey like his father. He loved riding horses and dreamed of following in his father's footsteps.

When his dad is killed in an automobile accident when Miles is 12, he devotes himself to learning to ride like his famous father. He is given his first opportunity while still in his teens to compete in a point-to-point event, his first horse race, albeit as an amateur. When his mother dies, he becomes a jockey for a training stable.

Although Miles tries his best, he endures many setbacks as he pursues his dream. He is treated badly by fellow jockeys as they all think he is only given rides in horse races because of who is father was. Therefore he has no friends. He wins a few races, but 'being the best' eludes him as there are more losses than wins and his confidence level gets lower and lower.

Miles ends up drinking as a way to 'forget' his failures and eventually he hits rock-bottom. With the help of the trainer's wife, who sees the problem and wants to help Miles, he ends up seeing a psychiatrist. Turns out that Miles has been suffering from PTSD going back to his childhood. He always thought that PTSD was only a veteran's condition. Not so. Anyone can suffer from it given enough trauma that has gone unrecognized. 

Until the psychiatrist explains it to him, Miles had no idea that his dad's death had affected him so strongly (because 12-year-old Miles was in the car with his dad the day of the accident). And his mother's death when he was only 17 was due to suicide and Miles blamed himself. All this trauma before he ever grew up with no one helping him understand it led to his PTSD. 

Now it is 7 years later and Miles has left the horse racing world and is doing fine. Instead, he enjoys riding headfirst down the Cresta Run, a three-quarter-mile Swiss ice chute, reaching speeds of up to eighty miles per hour. 

Horses racing at Cresta Run in St. Moritz Switzerland
While at St. Moritz for the Cresta Run, Miles discovers it is the same weekend as the White Turf – an event featuring high-class horseracing taking place on a frozen lake.  Against his better judgment, he gets talked into helping out with the horses. But then he discovers something suspicious going on at the races.

Miles begins to search for answers, because the 'something suspicious' many have a profound impact on his future. But someone is adamant about stopping him – and they will go to any lengths to do it.


The horseracing mystery involved in ICED is, as always, an interesting read for fans of the Dick Frances and Felix Francis stories. But it is also a look into how Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) can affect not only those who have fought in wars, but anyone who has had to endure a series of traumas in their life.  

Book cover of the horseracing mystery Iced by Felix Francis
Available on Amazon

Related Links:

*Iced, a horseracing mystery by Felix Francis reviewed by Wednesday Elf

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Review of Straight – A Horse Racing Mystery

A collage of the Book Straight, a row of books on a shelf and an image of the authors
Collage created on Fotojet
by Dick Francis

I have been a fan of the books by Dick Francis since the 1970s. I own them all and now am collecting them for my daughter, who has also become a huge fan. 

The Dick Francis books revolve around horse racing in England.  Most of the books are  stand-alone stories (not continuing), although there are 3 short sets of continuing characters among the Francis collection.  The main character and narrator of each story is somehow associated with horse racing. He may be a jockey, a trainer, a racehorse owner, or someone in another profession somehow linked to racing. 

I love each and every one of the 40+ books Dick Francis wrote and re-read them frequently. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to name a favorite.  

That said, I would like to review for you now one I just finished re-reading that is among those of my top favorites of the Francis collection ~ entitled Straight. As with all of the stories, it deals with crime in the horse racing world. 

Synopsis of Straight

Straight, by Dick Francis book cover
Available on Amazon
Straight, published in 1989, features a steeplechase jockey, Derek Franklin, as the main character and narrator of the story. While recovering from an injury, Derek receives news that his older brother, Greville, has died in an accident. Greville was a successful gemstone importer in London. He did not import diamonds, but recently did so for one specific customer who creates beautiful pieces studded with gems. 

Therein, lies the problem. Derek has no idea where the 100 diamonds are, due to his brother's need for secrecy, and it soon becomes apparent that unscrupulous others are also looking for them. The bank holds a loan of $1.5 million dollars for the diamonds and the gemstone business Derek has inherited and is now trying to run is in jeopardy if the diamonds cannot be found.  Danger suddenly surrounds Derek on all fronts and his only hope of survival is to identify the enemy. 

Derek says: “I inherited my brother's desk, his business, his gadgets, his enemies, his horses and his mistress.  I inherited my brother's life, and it nearly killed me.”

Author Dick Francis

Author Dick Francis
(c) Wednesday Elf
Personal Photo of my
Copy of this book
Dick Francis was a pilot with the RAF (Royal Air Force) during World War II and after the war became a highly successful professional jockey. In fact, he was a jockey for The Queen Mother's (Queen Elizabeth) horse, the story of which is outlined in “The Sport of Queens”, an autobiography published in 1957. 

After retiring from racing as a jockey, Francis worked as a racing correspondent for a newspaper, and also began to write his horse racing mystery stories. A nearly unknown fact is that his wife, Mary, was his researcher and a major contributor to his stories. In fact, during the many and varied  subjects she researched, Mary became a pilot (3 novels feature a pilot) and a photographer for a book about a race course photographer. 

Author, Dick Francis and his son and co-author, Felix Francis
Dick Francis with son Felix Francis

Near the end of his writing career, and after Mary's death in 2000, his son, Felix, became his writing partner. 

Dick Francis was born on Halloween in 1910 and died on Valentine's Day in 2010 at age 89. His son, Felix Francis has continued writing the Dick Francis Mysteries ever since. I am delighted that my favorite series of books continues to this day. The subject matter is still about horse racing, mainly in England, and involves a mystery to be solved. Felix's writing style is very similar to that of his dad and just as enjoyable to read. 


Personal library of Dick & Felix Francis books
My Dick Francis Book Collection
(c) Wednesday Elf

I highly recommend Straight, or any of the other Dick Francis and Felix Francis horse racing mysteries. You don't even have to like horses or be a fan of racing to enjoy these stories, as the writing is superb, the characters interesting, and the stories fascinating. 

(c) Wednesday Elf - 5/11/2019

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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