Come to Grief (Sid Halley Series #3)

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When ex-jockey Sid Halley becomes convinced that one of his closest friends—and one of the racing world's most beloved figures—is behind a series of shockingly violent acts, he faces the most troubling case of his career.

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Come to Grief (Sid Halley Series #3)

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When ex-jockey Sid Halley becomes convinced that one of his closest friends—and one of the racing world's most beloved figures—is behind a series of shockingly violent acts, he faces the most troubling case of his career.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Francis fans will welcome the return of narrator Sid Halley (Odds Against; Whip Hand) as the one-handed PI and ex-jockey takes on a case of multiple mutilations of thoroughbreds; unnervingly, the amputation of the animals' front left hooves mirrors Sid's own injury. The investigator soon realizes that the man behind the crimes is his old friend Ellis Quint, ex-gentleman jockey and now a beloved TV host. Sick at heart, Sid builds a strong case; but, when Quint is charged, British law bars any public discussion of the case, rendering Sid mute at the huge public backlash against him. Particularly vicious and unrelenting is The Pump, a garish tabloid. When another mutilation occurs and Ellis has a seemingly unbreakable alibi, Sid finds some odd connections between a business tycoon, The Pump's noble owner and Ellis. Finally, the honorable, brave and thoroughly decent Sid faces his worst nightmare-the loss of his good hand-while doing what he must. A subplot about a little girl with leukemia offers some touching sentiment, and there are flashes of dry wit throughout as Francis, who turns 75 later this year, proves himself still at the top of his game. BOMC featured alternate; Reader's Digest Condensed Book; simultaneous Simon & Schuster audio; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
No word yet on the plot of this latest thriller from the author of such best sellers as Decider (Putnam, 1993), but it's a good bet that the cast features plenty of horses and jockeys.
School Library Journal
YA-The champion jockey turned detective, Sid Halley, returns in this mystery to find the perpetrator of heinous crimes committed against prize-winning horses that are not insured. The horse community rejects his findings and does everything in its power to stop the investigation. Physical force, slanderous newspaper stories, and bugged phones are some of the tactics used to discredit and demoralize Halley. Fortunately, the nature of the crime is so unnerving that some powerful people enter the scene demanding that he finish his work. Francis has once again created a plausible mystery that can't be solved before finishing the book. The reading is easy and descriptive. The story, set in the present, includes characters and situations that will appeal to teen readers...especially horse lovers. Another Blue Ribbon selection from this notable author.-Linda A. Vretos, West Springfield High School, Springfield, VA
Emily Melton
he beloved king of the horse-racing mystery reintroduces ex-jockey-turned-sleuth Sid Halley in a story that is guaranteed to have readers lined up at the circ desk. Smart, tough, cool, and controlled, Halley lost his left hand in an accident years earlier, but that doesn't stop him from investigating equine enigmas. When someone starts mutilating priceless racehorses by hacking off their feet, Halley can't wait to find the bloody bugger who's responsible. Outraged by the senseless attacks, Sid interviews owners, noses after leads, and slogs through muddy pastures looking for clues. He soon concludes, to his horror, that the attacker is one of his oldest pals, friendly rival and fellow ex-jockey Ellis Quint. But when Sid makes his well-founded accusations public, he quickly becomes a pariah, as the racing community refuses to think the worst of the well-respected Quint. Francis' latest is one of his very best, offering a cleverly contrived plot, unforgettable characters, and steadily mounting suspense. But there's more emotional involvement and impact than usual, and the story seems more engaging and real than Francis' typically well structured but formulaic adventures. Halley is solid, engaging, and true blue--a perfect hero for a story that is fast out of the starting gate, smooth in the stretch, and a sure bet for the winner's circle.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425207185
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Series: Sid Halley Series, #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 315,387
  • Product dimensions: 4.33 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Francis

Dick Francis (pictured with his son Felix Francis) was born in South Wales in 1920. He was a young rider of distinction winning awards and trophies at horse shows throughout the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, flying fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster.

He became one of the most successful postwar steeplechase jockeys, winning more than 350 races and riding for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. After his retirement from the saddle in 1957, he published an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write more than forty acclaimed books, including the New York Times bestsellers Even Money and Silks.

A three-time Edgar Award winner, he also received the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger, was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000. He died in February 2010, at age eighty-nine, and remains among the greatest thriller writers of all time.


Dick Francis was born in Lawrenny, South Wales in 1920. He served in the Royal Air Force for six years during World War II, piloting fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster between 1943 and 1946.

Following the war, Francis, the son of a jockey, became a celebrity in the world of British National Hunt racing. He won more than 350 races, was Champion Jockey in 1953-1954, and was retained as jockey to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for four seasons, 1953 through 1957. Francis rode eight times in the world famous Grand National Steeplechase, and nearly won in 1956 when his horse, the Queen Mother's Devon Loch, a few strides away from victory with a clear field, suddenly collapsed. This incident, which Francis calls "both the high point and low point of my career as a jockey," was the impetus for him to begin a second career as a writer. Shortly after the incident, a literary agent approached Francis about writing an autobiography.

In 1957, Francis suffered another serious fall and was advised to retire from race riding. He completed his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, which was published later that year, and accepted an invitation to write six features for the London Sunday Express. He stayed on as the newspaper's racing correspondent for 16 years.

Sports writing soon led to fiction writing, which in turn led to a string of bestselling novels. His first, Dead Cert, was published in 1962. His 36th novel, 10 Lb. Penalty, was published in the U. S. by G. P. Putnam's Sons in September 1997. In addition to his novels and autobiography, Francis has also published a biography of Lester Piggott, A Jockey's Life, and eight short stories. He has edited (with John Welcome) four collections of racing stories, and has contributed to anthologies and periodicals.

Francis's books have been bestsellers in a number of countries, and have been translated into more than 30 languages, including all European languages, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Bantu, and several dialects of Chinese. Each of his novels has also been recorded on audio in both Britain and the United States.

Francis was made an Officer of the most noble Order of the British Empire in 1984, and was awarded the British Crime Writers Association silver dagger in 1965, gold dagger in 1980 and Cartier diamond dagger for his life's work in 1990. The recipient of three Edgar Allen Poe Awards for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, most recently for 1995's Come to Grief, Francis is the only person to have been awarded the prestigious award more than once. The Mystery Writers of America named Francis Grand Master for his life's work in 1996, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Tufts University in 1991.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Sir Richard Stanley Francis (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 31, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tenby, Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales
    1. Date of Death:
      February 14, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013



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    Posted March 18, 2013


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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Dick & Son

    I agree that Felix is not the writer his father is, but he is stll better than many other mystery writers today. It is just that Dick was one of a kind. He had a very distinct and clear style.

    The only critisim I have ever heard oh him was that his heroes were all interchangable. But that was not a weakness in my eyes, it was a strength.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I love everything by Dick Francis. NOT the stuff with his son Felix, you can tell that Dick wasn't in control by then. I miss him very much. wish he were still with us and writing.

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  • Posted August 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Come to Grief was the Edgar Award Winner for Best Novel in 1996

    I don't know why the reviewer on June 05, 2005 thought this novel was "too close to home." It makes me wonder if the reviewer had personal experience (as a victim) with the type of crime in Come to Grief. Even though I am a fan of Dick Francis, this was a tough read for me because of the violence and evil perpetrated by the criminal on animals. I gave the plot 4 stars because it is not for the squeamish. That being said, it was an excellent book full of the taut suspense, solid characterizations, and pacing that make all Dick Francis books great. It is important to know that the Mystery Writers of America gave this book the Edgar Award for Best Novel of 1996. Do not let one poor review turn you away from Dick Francis books. If you're not sure if you can handle the plot, try reading the synopsis on the dust jacket (or back) of the books. For those who haven't read Dick Francis' novels yet, I recommend starting with Dead Cert. It's a brilliant book as are all the others he wrote. Mr. Francis passed away in February 2010. The last novel he wrote (in collaboration with his son, Felix Francis)is titled Crossfire and will be available August 17, 2010.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005


    I always used to love the Dick Francis books until this one. This one is too close to home for my liking, which is a great shame, as before this book I had seen Dick Francis through rose coloured glassed, and I hated having those glasses removed from me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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