It was a wonderful setup–Dick Francis wrote the books, and I, along with millions of other fans, read them.
Dick Francis, a former jockey, wrote British horse racing crime thrillers, most of which were international best sellers. He died on Valentine’s Day, 2010, at age 89.
I first learned of Dick Francis from Dave L, a friend in California who devoured books on frequent coast-to-coast flights. When Dave found out I’d never read a Dick Francis, he waltzed over to his well-stocked bookshelves and selected a couple of paperbacks for me.
The first Dick Francis I ever read was Whip Hand (1979).
The second and still my favorite was The Danger (1983,) a story about a kidnapping.
Next I think was Proof. Although not a horse racing buff, I was hooked by the intelligence, sensitivity, and humility of his main characters, which made his books stand out from other best sellers. Of course I enjoyed the suspense, too, of which Dick Francis was a master. I admired the way he said so much in so few words.
I’ve read every book he ever published, even when it meant going out of my way to get them. While living near Paris before the days of the Internet, I frequented W.H. Smith for his books. Dick Francis became an author I trusted to provide a page-turning, memorable, and clean read, a standard he said he kept because his books were favorites of the Queen Mother. In the nineties, when my daughter and I got to talk with him and his wife at a book signing, he was as kind as we’d hoped. Just wish I hadn’t been so tongue-tied.
My sincere condolences to his family. May God bless and keep you.
Posted on March 4, 2010