Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dear Dick Francis

Today is the birthday of Dick Francis, one my all time favorite authors. Francis (who passed away earlier this year at the age of 89), was a late-in-my-literary-life discovery, since I only came to his books several years ago. But once I was hooked, I was hooked for keeps. I promptly read every book I could get my hands on in one fell swoop of Dick Francis frenzy.

Here's a link to a bit of bio and a list of all his books. And if you think all his books are strictly about horses, you'd be wrong. Even if you, for whatever reason on God's green earth dislike horses, you can still read Francis and not be overcome with equine revulsion. As I like to say: Dick Francis's books are about horses, the way Hamlet is about Denmark.

Years ago, when the mystery website was active, I reviewed books and once wrote a tribute to Dick Francis which you can still find at the site, here.

Here's what wowed me: Dick Francis sent me the loveliest letter thanking me for my tribute. Here's a man who rarely interacted with the 'press' but he wrote to me. I can't even being to express how thrilled I was.

Off the top of my head, here's a list of some of my favorite Dick Francis books:
  • To The Hilt (My introduction to Francis.)
  • Longshot
  • Hot Money
  • Come To Grief
  • Driving Force
  • Whip Hand
  • Odds Against
  • Decider
  • Smokescreen
  • In the Frame
  • Flying Finish
  • Forfeit
  • Slayride
  • Break In
  • Dead Cert
  • Risk
This link to Fantastic Fiction will give you more information about the individual books.


  1. Been reading Francis since the 70s. I still reread his stuff on a regular basis. While I'm sad he died, his writing had begun to slip over the last few books. And the horses, while essential to the stories, are not characters in the way man "horse story" horses are.

  2. The horses to me, Becky, are not essential in that they don't really advance the stories except, perhaps in a few cases, i.e. COME TO GRIEF where the death of the ponies reveals the increase in fixation. I know next to nothing about horses and racing and that world and I still loved the few stories set at the track. Though in quite a few of his books, the 'horse thing' is incidental. In my view.

    Yes, the last few years, his writing did drop off. But he left us such a huge back log of wonderful work, there's plenty there to keep us busy. :)

  3. Newish to me also, Yvette. I just began a few years ago. I do love horses so that's a big appeal to me. I'd have loved being brought up on a Kentucky horse farm. :<) How very wonderful that he wrote to you. Gives me shivers. I'm off to read your tribute now. I could spend my whole day here at your blog!

  4. Oh, Nan, THANKS SO MUCH for your kind words. Yes, you will love Dick Francis' books, I know it. They don't have to be read in order since most of the books are stand-alones, although the earliest books are his best. Check out my list of favorites and, if you like, you can begin there. I'd be very interested to know what you think of his work, once you get going. :)


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