Field of Thirteen

Field of Thirteen

4.7 11
by Dick Francis
     
 

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A superbly crafted collection of thirteen tightly plotted tales that treats readers to murder, mystery, and mayhem in the world of horseracing.

Overview

A superbly crafted collection of thirteen tightly plotted tales that treats readers to murder, mystery, and mayhem in the world of horseracing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Field of Thirteen] starts with a gallop and remains strong throughout." -USA Today

"Mesmerizing...shows the literary jockey at the top of his game." -Entertainment Weekly

Philadelphia Inquirer
Dick Francis has the knack. Which, clearly, is never going to desert him. It's the seemingly simple, most-writers-would-kill-for knack.
Nikki Amdur
This mesmerizing collection of short stories shows the literary jockey at the top of his game. . . . Whether it's an elegy for a sportswriter on the skids or the ballad of a Welsh groom and her social-climbing daughter, the stories linger long after you turn the page.
Entertainment Weekly
San Francisco Chronicle
You can always depend on Dick Francis for a rousing good story.
Phoebe-Lou Adams
The thefts and scams are. . .admirable; a couple are . . .enticingly plausible. . . —The Atlantic Monthly
San Diego Union-Tribune
Dick Francis remains one of the most inventive and entertaining storytellers of our time, that rare performer who can both satisfy his audience and leave them hungry for more. Francis never fails to boot home a winner.
People Magazine
[Francis] once again saddles up a winner in this fast-paced collection of stories set in the racing world.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though nearly two score of his novels have come to print, Francis has published only eight short stories in his 41 years as a bestselling author. That octet, composed mostly in the 1970s and initially appearing in various journals (Sports Illustrated, the Times of London, etc.), is reprinted here, along with five new tales, each introduced in brief by Francis. There's not a slacker among them, though few champions either. The earliest yarn, "Carrot for a Chestnut," dating from 1970 (eight years after Francis's first novel), is typical, presenting a morally ordered universe in which malefactors get their due, albeit commonly through indirect means. Here, a jockey who bends a race by feeding a horse a drugged carrot receives his comeuppance by losing his concentration as a result of his crime and getting involved in a nasty accident; as in most of the stories, there's a light twist to the ending. Horse racing figures in every entry, of course. Sometimes it's the focus of a crime--as in "Blind Chance," in which a blind boy picks up on how bettors are getting inside info on races with photo finishes. Sometimes, it's only background, as in "Collision Course," about how a fired newspaper editor hoists poetic justice upon a horrid restaurateur/horse trainer. Most of the stories are superficially clever, but below the quick plotting there's emotional depth; in "Spring Fever," for instance, Francis plumbs the innocent desperation of unrequited December-May love. And throughout there is Francis's voice, strong, smart, ironic, developed even at the beginning but maturing in timbre as he hones his skill. Even more than the horse racing, this voice is the tie that binds these 13 tales into a charmed entertainment. (Sept.)
Phoebe-Lou Adams
The thefts and scams are. . .admirable; a couple are . . .enticingly plausible. . . -- The Atlantic Monthly
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Dick Francis has the knack. Which, clearly, is never going to desert him. It's the seemingly simple, most-writers-would-kill-for knack.
Union-Tribune San Diego
Dick Francis remains one of the most inventive and entertaining storytellers of our time, that rare performer who can both satisfy his audience and leave them hungry for more. Francis never fails to boot home a winner.
Kirkus Reviews
In lieu of his annual novel (10 Lb. Penalty), horseracing's gift to the mystery offers his fans his first collection of shorts, including five colts appearing in their first event and eight fillies who've been around the track once or twice. Most of the new stories are horsey parables of revenge. A small-town newspaper editor plots against the restaurant that humiliated his guests; a mild expatriate Brit patiently pursues legal remedies against the lawyer who swindled him out of the bail money he put up for an acquaintance; a couple of means gets even with the social-climbing daughter who neglected her mother, their faithful groom; a timely accident puts paid to the plans of a hit man and the jockey who hired him. The last story, 'Haig's Death,' about the effects of a race judge's fatal heart attack on the owners of the entrants, is the most original.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425194997
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/02/2004
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
305,064
Product dimensions:
4.43(w) x 6.89(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"[Field of Thirteen] starts with a gallop and remains strong throughout." -USA Today

"Mesmerizing...shows the literary jockey at the top of his game." -Entertainment Weekly

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies
Date of Birth:
October 31, 1920
Date of Death:
February 14, 2010
Place of Birth:
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales
Place of Death:
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies
Education:
Dropped out of Maidenhead County School at age 15.

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Field of Thirteen 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ThePolyBlog More than 1 year ago
PLOT OR PREMISE: A collection of thirteen short stories, eight of which were published previously in various magazines. . WHAT I LIKED: "- Dead on Red - A contract killer kills a jockey for another jockey, but the results are not quite what the surviving jockey had desired. (4.00/5.00) - Song for Mona - A snobbish daughter is ashamed of her mother's life and history while others find her charming and praise her. (4.00/5.00) - Collision Course - An editor loses his job and runs into snobs who won't let him park his boat at their restaurant while he has dinner with three publishers. Turns out the owner is a up-and-comer who needs to win an upcoming race in order to attract horses to his farm. An interesting battle develops. (4.00/5.00) - Carrot for a Chestnut - Fixing a race by doping the horse with a doctored carrot. With a great twist at the end. (3.50/5.00) - Blind Chance - A man has a perfect way to know the outcomes of photo-finish races, and to make money on it. Until disaster strikes. (4.00/5.00) - Corkscrew - An honest man is charged with a crime and his lawyer swindles his parents out of the bail money. He doesn't count on the road to justice being somewhat long and windy. (3.75/5.00) - The Day of the Losers -- Money from an old robbery is the glue that holds this story together as the police attempt to fix a race in order to catch a crook. There are twists all around at the end. (3.50/5.00) - Haig's Death - All the people who have their fates resting on the outcome of a race are all affected when the decision falls to the judge, whose fate has already been decided. Multiple storylines all leading to a combined finish. (3.50/5.00)" . WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: "- Raid at Kingdom Hill - A bomb scare at the racetrack, and money goes missing during the chaos. (2.00/5.00) - Bright White Star - The theft of a horse from an auction and a wandering tramp who is displaced from his home on the land...includes a great set-up/intro though -- ""Write us a story,"" they said. I asked, ""What about?"" ""About three thousand words,"" they replied. (2.00/5.00) - Nightmare - A horse thief is running from his past where his father was killed during a theft. (2.50/5.00) - The Gift - A down-and-out alcoholic journalist finds the horseracing story of the century, but may be too drunk to write it. (2.00/5.00) - Spring Fever - A woman falls in love with her jockey and is taken advantage of, at first. (2.50/5.00)" . BOTTOM-LINE: An average Francis collection . DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I was not personal friends with the author, nor did I follow him on social media.
Clusterliver1 More than 1 year ago
The writing of a good short story is truly an art and Dick Francis demonstrates the he is a master of that art. These stories are crafted with the skill that he shows in his full length books, full of complexities leading with precision to a realistic end. If you're a longtime fan, you'll enjoy this one even though it leaves you wanting more. If you've not yet met Dick Francis, this is a great introduction.
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A black she-cat with one red eye and one blue eye padded in and walked over to rainpaws body. "Your brothers and sisters will end up just like you, soon." She looks around then pads out.