Dead Heat

( 25 )

Overview

On the heels of Under Orders, 'Francis once again proves himself a master. Wow.' (BOOKLIST)

Max Moreton is a rising culinary star-until his guests fall victim to severe food poisoning-and then a bomb blast rips through the luncheon he's catering. Two close calls are too close for comfort, and Max vows to protect his name, and himself, before it's too late.

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Overview

On the heels of Under Orders, 'Francis once again proves himself a master. Wow.' (BOOKLIST)

Max Moreton is a rising culinary star-until his guests fall victim to severe food poisoning-and then a bomb blast rips through the luncheon he's catering. Two close calls are too close for comfort, and Max vows to protect his name, and himself, before it's too late.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It was the most painful episode of Max Moreton's young life. Just as he's beginning to gain full recognition as a chef, nearly all his guests at an elegant private party fall victim to severe food poisoning. The disaster leaves his culinary reputation in tatters, but worse is yet to come. The very next day, as he's catering an exclusive racetrack luncheon, a bomb goes off in the private boxes, killing kitchen staff and patrons alike. Max begins to visualize a bull's-eye with himself at its center. A thoroughbred novel by three-time Edgar winner Dick Francis and his son, Felix. (Felix Francis was the inspiration for a major character in Dick Francis' Twice Shy.)
Marilyn Stasio
…while it doesn't feature the Francis trademarks of high-strung horses in high-stakes races, Dead Heat doesn't abandon the sport as much as turn it inside out, so we can inspect one of the many small, labor-intensive businesses that operate behind the scenes in this rarefied and utterly exotic world.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

MWA Grand Master Francis's first collaboration with his son Felix, a former physics teacher who researched many of his father's previous bestsellers, introduces an engaging hero, though longtime fans may find certain plot elements, like an unlikely love interest and sinister figures somehow connected with shady racetrack doings, less than fresh. The reputation of Max Moreton, a young wunderkind chef with a restaurant in Newmarket, England, suffers after guests at an affair he caters fall ill with food poisoning. This calamity nearly jeopardizes another job-feeding several dozen attendees at a major horse race. While that meal goes off without a hitch, a terrorist's bomb decimates the crowd at the track. Despite the official theory that an unpopular Middle Eastern ruler at the event was responsible, the chef wonders whether the bombing is related to the earlier food poisoning and turns amateur sleuth. Crisp writing and well-paced action help offset the routine plotting. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Forbes Magazine
Here's a book for dieters that will both give them a thrill and help them resist, at least momentarily, some of those always tempting weight-inducing foods. Michelin-starred chef Max Moreton is catering a gala dinner on the eve of a major horse race. Almost all the diners--along with Moreton and his staff--are hit with food poisoning, which of course threatens the very existence of Moreton's restaurant and career. And, if that weren't enough, the next day Moreton is nearly killed in a bomb explosion that leaves more than a dozen people dead. Before the mystery is solved, Moreton--an amateur sleuth--finds himself coping with an international conspiracy involving Argentinean polo ponies and a floundering American manufacturer of farm equipment, as well as with pesky local bureaucrats and a beautiful young violist--a victim of the food poisoning--who is suing him for damages and lost wages. (25 Feb 2008)
—Steve Forbes
Library Journal

Max Moreton, chef and part owner of the Hay Net, an acclaimed restaurant in Newmarket, England, is suffering from what is apparently food poisoning. After an agonizing night, Max is alarmed when his assistant calls to say that he and several other staff members have suffered the same fate. When the Public Health Department seals the restaurant-owing to the poisoning of over 250 guests-Max fears his days as a top chef may be over, though he does have another big event to arrange. But someone has other plans for Max's Newmarket soiree-a bomb that blasts through the room-and Max will have to hone his investigative skills to discover what lies at the heart of these occurrences. As usual, Francis, joined for the first time by his son, keeps us all tuned in till the very last word. Martin Jarvis's excellent narration helps make this book another winner for Francis and his many fans. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Books on Tape also has a version available: 9 CDs. unabridged. 10¾ hrs. 2007. ISBN

Kirkus Reviews
Legendary racing-mystery master Francis (Shattered, 2000, etc.) partners with son Felix to bring mayhem of many kinds to the Newmarket track. After a night he's spent huddled over his toilet sick as a dog, it's no consolation to restaurateur Max Moreton to learn that he hasn't been alone. Virtually everyone at the party at the Hay Net, his racing-themed restaurant, has become ill. Soon enough, longtime patrons begin to cancel their reservations; the Cambridge County Council seals his kitchen; and violist Caroline Aston, whose quartet had played at the party, announces her plans to sue him. By that time, however, Max already has bigger problems. A bomb planted in the stands at the 2,000 Guineas, a high-profile race run the day after the debacle at the Hay Net, has killed 19 and sent dozens more to the hospital. Are the two incidents connected, and if so, how? It doesn't take Max long to satisfy himself that his meal was sabotaged by the unboiled kidney beans someone introduced into a sauce that didn't call for them. But why would anyone seek to poison 250 diners the night before detonating a bomb? Working with Caroline Aston, who's morphed rapidly and improbably from legal antagonist to lover, Max focuses on the people who attended the party but not the race. Soon enough, some conscientious sleuthing and lucky breaks reveal an ingenious smuggling plot Max is determined to end-that is, if the powers arrayed against him don't succeed in killing him first by means of arson or a car crash or a polo mallet or another bomb. Clunky expository dialogue tells you more than you probably want to know about food preparation and concertizing. But the mystery is engaging, and durable Max is a worthyaddition to Francis's gallery of racetrack detectives.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399154768
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/17/2007
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 445,944
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (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.

Felix Francis (pictured with his father, Dick Francis), a graduate of London University, spent seventeen years teaching A-level physics before taking on an active role in his father’s career. He has assisted with the research of many of the Dick Francis novels, including Shattered, Under Orders, and Twice Shy, which drew on Felix’s experiences as a physics teacher and as an international marksman. He is coauthor with his father of the New York Times bestsellers Dead Heat, Silks, and Even Money. He lives in England.

Biography

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 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 16, 2008

    Dick Francis at His Best

    This is one of the best Francis mysteries ever. It is surprisingly buoyant and charming from a writer in his 80s! (Maybe it's his son's influence?) In any event, I loved it. Loved the main character, loved the restaurant and menu details (thanks to Gordon Ramsay) and loved the international intrigue that crept in. All was authentic -- characters, plot and of course his knowledge of horses.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    A Flying Finish

    There is something charming about Dick Francis and his racing set mysteries. For the last ten years I have awaited each new book with anticipation, happiness and impatience - then while I am reading the novel I deliberately hold back from finishing it too soon. Do you know what I mean?? There is always that one writer that you prize more than any other and is probably not a literary or Pulitzer prize winning author, but someone who you can relax with and simply fall into their familiar and simple style. Someone you will collect every paperback and hardback edition of just to say you have it. With that said, this was the first time I felt a slight tremor of trepidation creep into my thoughts when I learned Francis wrote the book with his son Felix. Over the past several years we have seen authors build their libraries by using another writer to actually flesh out their own outlines (James Patterson) and others who use a relative to carry on the family tradition (Clive Cussler). We have even seen the dead carry on (Robert Ludlum) and entice us with stories that are written by ghost writers but have the author's name trademarked on the cover. I have read some of these books and though they are not horrible, they lack what their creator's originally mastered. So, when I saw Felix Francis stamped on the cover, I wondered what I was in for. I waited for the day it was released and bought my copy - I kept the faith on this one - and settled in. Fell in to be more precise. The book turns out to be one of the author¿s best: quick, funny and absorbing. The British flair to the dialogue, using words like bugger, bloody and plunker, is one of the reasons this author does it for me. All of his novels are fantastic, but there was another level of power evident in this mystery, entitled Dead Heat. Using the same racing background that has become his signature recurring character we see Max Moreton, a well established chef in the racing community, try to unravel the truth behind who poisoned an entire group of people at an event he catered. To make matters worse, the next day another group of people are bombed at the 2,000 Guineas, also catered by him. Trickles of post 9/11 terrorism and espionage are used to give the novel a more modern touch and in doing so endear this book to the reader. It doesn't try to make a grand statement, but instead entertains like it should. I get the feeling that Dick Francis' son Felix contributed an equal share to this story, moving neck in neck with each chapter to make it flow seamlessly. Felix Francis has been a researcher for his father on many previous books and with adding his writer's hand to the work has given us a true treat. I am not sure if this means that Dick Francis is retiring and that his son will carry on with the racing theme, but if he is then he put the project in the right hands. Dead Heat will not walk away winning the Pulitzer prize or even sell an exorbitant amount of copies, but the author has his followers and I am one of them. Needless to say, next year I will be back in the same frame of mind when I hear Dick Francis and Felix Francis have their new book out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    Wow and Unexpected

    I absolutely love Dick Francis' books. I've read them all and was disappointed by Under Orders. However Dead Heat is funny, suspenseful, and even romantic. The pacing was faster than previous books. I was concerned that with his son, Felix, co-authoring that it would not live up to my expectations such as when Stephen Farley took over for Walter Farley but I have to say well done to the father-son team. I hope they continue writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Dead Heat

    AWESOME

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    Forever Francis!

    This story had my heart racing with my taste buds tingling...great characters...Dick Francis continues to entertain and educate his readers on horses, racing, people, and everything else. I love this book as much as all the others. In fact, I read this book then bought the audio so I can listen to it at work. Thanks to the Francis' for a job well done!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great mystery

    Business is booming at the Newmarket restaurant in Newmarket, England and the proprietor Max Moreton is hired by the racetrack to be the guest chef of a dinner. The meal is a success but most of the people came down with a bad case of food poisoning including Max. The next day he has to drag himself out of bed to perform as the guest chef in the sponser¿s box. A bomb goes off killing many and injuring even more including Max¿s staff. The cause of the food poisoning is caused by undercooked kidney beans. Max knows nothing in the dinner called for kidney beans.--------------- He believes somebody deliberately poisoned his meal so that they would have an excuse not to go to the sponsor¿s gala. Two couples who were supposed to attend the sponsor¿s gala never showed up one couple is one of Max¿s best customers and the other is Peter, an importer of polo ponies and his wife. While he is investigating he is almost killed when the brakes on his car go out and his house with him in it is set afire. When Max and his lover go to the states, he gets a broken arm just for asking about a certain person and showing a metal ball to the security guard. Even with his life in danger, Max refuses to give up his quest to find out who tainted the meal that left so many ill and he has a number of unexpected allies willing to back him up.------------------- This father and son writing team changes the dynamic of a book written by Dick Frances. There is more humor in the storyline and readers get even closer to the characters because Max is an everyman the audience can identify with even with his outrageous risks to clear his name. The mystery itself is clearly set up so that through the use of misdirection, readers aren¿t sure who the villains of this tale are.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2011

    A very good read. I strongly recommend this book.

    Both Dick and Felix Frances know how to tell a great story. And, of course, it is usually about race horses.

    I have read all of the Frances' books and they never disappoint. Don't miss Dick Frances' Gamble by Felix Frances

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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    Dick Francis is on fire.

    Another in a long line of wonderful Dick Francis books. This one focuses less on horse racing than some. Lots of interesting information about what it's like to run a restaurant and become a great chef. Nice romance too. Will definitely appeal to Francis fans and may win him some new ones.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Doesn't feel right.

    I was delighted to see my neighboring village of Delafield, Wisconsin featured!
    This was another carefully researched book with an interesting look into the life of a chef and a brief look at polo. However, this book had a different feel from all the other Dick Francis novels I have read and enjoyed. It was somehow less engaging, particularly the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    Good

    Intriguing

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 20, 2009

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    Posted February 17, 2011

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    Posted June 19, 2011

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    Posted August 4, 2009

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    Posted December 30, 2009

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    Posted February 17, 2010

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    Posted January 25, 2010

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    Posted August 18, 2011

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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