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Silks [NOOK Book]


From Dick Francis and his son, Felix, comes Geoffrey Mason-a defense barrister whose true passion is riding his Thoroughbred. Mason's two lives collide when a fellow jockey is accused of murdering a colleague with a pitchfork. Mason prefers not to get involved. But soon he is torn between doing what's right-and what will keep him alive.

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From Dick Francis and his son, Felix, comes Geoffrey Mason-a defense barrister whose true passion is riding his Thoroughbred. Mason's two lives collide when a fellow jockey is accused of murdering a colleague with a pitchfork. Mason prefers not to get involved. But soon he is torn between doing what's right-and what will keep him alive.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
The collaboration between Dick Francis and his son, Felix, has produced another sure-footed winner in Silks. Both the central theme and the story elements of this racetrack thriller are familiar…but this hero's useful perspective brings fresh excitement to a grand old sport.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

After collaborating on Dead Heat(2007), bestseller Francis and his son, Felix, deliver another gripping thriller with a thoroughbred racing backdrop. Soon after London barrister Geoffrey Mason, an amateur jockey by avocation, starts receiving a series of threatening messages from a former client, Julian Trent, whose conviction for assault was overturned on appeal, Mason reluctantly accepts the defense of a jockey, Steve Mitchell, accused of the pitch-fork murder of fellow rider Scot Barlow at a steeplechase event. Mitchell and Barlow had fallen out over Barlow's sister, a vet and Mitchell's former girlfriend, who took her own life just a short while before. When unknown parties order Mason to lose the case, he must balance his professional ethics and his sense of self-preservation. The solid writing and engaging lead will carry readers along at a brisk pace, though some may find the dramatic courtroom revelation of the murderer overly theatrical. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Threetime Edgar® Awardwinning author Dick Francis's first collaboration with his son, Felix, was the 2007 mystery Dead Heat, which debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best sellers list. This is his second such partnership, also set in Francis's triedandtrue world of British horseracing. Actor/narrator Martin Jarvis voices all the characters distinctly and believably; with the undercurrent of wry humor and masterful pacing, his narration nicely complements the characterdriven writing. A wonderfully successful package for all popular fiction collections. [Also available from Books on Tape on CD (ISBN 9781415959626 - 9781415959633)
—Don Wismer

Kirkus Reviews
What new angles on horse racing are left for veteran Francis (Dead Heat, 2007, etc.) to explore? His latest hero is a barrister who's also a passionate amateur steeplechase jockey. It's no wonder that Geoffrey Mason's fellow jockeys call him Perry, for he makes his living in the courtroom, not on the track. By any measure his least satisfying case is his unsuccessful defense of Julian Trent, accused of savaging a family with a baseball bat. Even though Trent is clearly guilty, his conviction is reversed on appeal, and as soon as he's released he sets about making his former counsel's life miserable-threatening him, trashing his home, attacking him physically. Even worse, a fortuitous telephone caller demands that the very junior Mason assume the defense of Steve Mitchell, the champion jockey accused of killing his longtime rival Scot Barlow-and that he lose the case, which looks easy enough to do in light of the evidence. To underline Mason's vulnerability, his shadowy enemy sends him photographs of his aging father and his new romantic interest, whom he clearly intends to harm if Mason doesn't play along. And it may be harder than Mason thought to cooperate, since it gradually becomes clear that Mitchell may not be guilty after all. Despite Mason's avocation, the outsider's view of racing takes a back seat to the courtroom sequences. Partnering for the second time with his son, Francis produces a whodunit more accomplished than ever but less distinctive than the work that put him on the map. Book-of-the-Month Club and Mystery Guild main selection
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440635052
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 87,120
  • File size: 381 KB

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.


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
( 36 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2010

    Great Read

    I loved this book. My hubby got it for me for V-day. It's not what I usually read and it took about 3 chapters for me to get into it, then I couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2010

    Another Winner

    It is heartening to see that the Dick Francis legacy of fine mystery writing can continue even once he is gone. The collaboration with Felix Francis is seamless, and it feels like having a conversation with an old friend.

    No one does better horse racing related mysterys than Francis, and he does not disappoint with this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

    This book was really something else

    I liked this book, however, it was a little hard to get into at first. Then something happened and I couldn't put it down. The central theme of horse betting is really foreign to me and I think that is what upset me at first. By the time I had read a third of it I was hooked. I found it very interesting and it kept my attention. I like how the Francis's write and they cover so many different takes of the horse business. I can't wait for the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2008

    a terrific legal thriller

    Julian Trent blames his former London barrister Geoffrey Mason for his initial assault conviction that was overturned on appeal. Mason thought his client got off soft on an overwhelming lost case. However, Trent believes his lawyer did not provide a proper defense and begins sending intimidating messages to Mason. P Although he has doubts bigger than Big Ben, Mason agrees to defend jockey Steve Mitchell against a murder charge. Evidence is strong that a crime of passion occurred as witnesses saw Mason¿s client and another jockey Scot Barlow arguing over the latter¿s late sister who was the former¿s girlfriend Millie when he was married with kids. Barlow blamed Mitchell for his sister¿s suicide while Mitchell blamed Barlow for informing his wife of the affair as his spouse divorced him, remarried an Aussie, and moved with their kids to Australia. Not long after that Barlow was found murdered with the means being a pitchfork. However, to his shock, unknown adversaries order Mason to lose the case or else they imply his septuagenarian father would be battered like his computer just was. P SILKS is a terrific legal thriller starring a barrister with a difficult case exponentially compounded by threats to lose and by Mason¿s problems to focus as he also believes Trent is involved. The story line is a fast ride around the track although racing is more background than usual in a Dick Francis thriller. Although the courtroom revelation seems out of Perry Mason rather than Geoffrey Mason, fans enjoy the latest collaboration from the father and son Francis horse racing mystery team (see DEAD HEAT). P Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012


    Great book. Very suspenful and engaging.

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  • Posted July 22, 2012

    Great Read! Must get this book.

    I just love Dick Francis and the way he can incorporate so many other businesses with horse racing. This time it is the law. I couldn't put the hardback down and when I got my Nook, I just had to have he book to reread again and again.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not the Dick Francis from previous books

    I love Dick Francis so it was with regret that I gave this review, but this book does not stand up to the standards I had come to expect from Francis.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Sid Halley and Rumpole all in one.

    New character Geoffrey Mason is a Jockey for the love of it and a Barrister to support the love. When the two worlds collide the only ones having fun are the readers. I hope we see more of Geoffrey and his world.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Not the same Dick Francis without his wife

    I couldn't get enough of Dick Francis's books. Since his wife died, they haven't been the same. The one he wrote by himself was good, but I really think his wife must have contributed a lot to his former success. I'm sure he loves his son, but he isn't the editor, or co-writer that Dick's wife must have been. (Sorry Dick.)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2009

    Recycled motive in a great story

    In his recent books, Mr. Francis has returned to stories centered around what he knows best, steeplechase racing. Formerly a professional steeplechase jockey and then a racing journalist, Mr. Francis understands steeplechase racing and the people involved in it whether they be jockeys, trainers, breeders, bloodstock agents, or gamblers. That gives his characters even more depth and understanding of the business than in stories where central character's profession is some other business such as restaurants, glass blowing, wine/spirits, etc. Horse racing limits the set of underlying motives. True, all mysteries are based on a small set of general motives such as greed, hatred, love, etc but I mean the specific type of crime that sets the story in motion. Long time readers of Mr. Francis' wonderful mysteries will recognize that he re-used the villain's "original sin" from a previous story. For me, that particular aspect of the book was a bit anticlimactic.

    The rest of the story was fantastic! The hero of the piece is an English barrister (trial lawyer) and successful amateur steeplechase rider. He is known to his fellow jockeys as "Perry" because his surname is Mason, a nod to the lawyer hero of the old Erle Stanley Gardiner mysteries. "Perry" defends a professional jockey against a charge of murdering another professional jockey with whom there was a longstanding enmity. The jockey is being framed and "Perry" is under dire threats from the real "bad guy" to lose the case. He uncovers the truth and saves his client and himself in true Perry Mason fashion. A fine "whodunit" even though the "why they did it" is familiar.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    Thank goodness he's back!

    Was delighted with the collaboration between Mr. Francis and his son. Such enjoyable reading. Hope they keep them coming!

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great tradition of popular fiction carries on.

    About 10 years ago, I said to my sister, "The one great sadness of my life is that I can't read all the Dick Francis books for the first time, again." Well, now I have my cake: Francis' son (the physics professor) who helped Dick write some of his later books, has taken over the franchise and is doing it well. Felix is not quite the writer his father is (yet) but he's on his way. He understands how these books are written and constructs "Silks" accoriding to formula. It has the requisite grabber first paragraph. (I suspect Felis wrote "The students went quiet as I pulled out the gun... One of the very best Dick Francis first lines) The character is dragged down and made to suffer, but not as horribly as Dick would have done. There are horses and jockies and broken bones, and enough spurious accusations to choke a pony.
    Anyone who love Dick Francis as I do will be gratified that Felix is at work for the nonce. Anyone who doesn't know the Francis oevre can start here, then go back to the beginning and read all through Dick Halley and "Proof" and "Reflex" and all of those. I promise escape.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Thank goodness Dick Francis is still at it.

    I was afraid that there would be no more Dick Francis books, but now that he's writing with his son, I hope there will be many more to come.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    OK Dick Francis

    Apparently the father has taught the son-It's typical Dick Francis-tension, concussions and all the rest. It's not literature but it's fun. The only thing that I didn't care for was that it missed the typical Dick Francis plot line of teaching me something-example being his book "Proof" that told me about the whiskey/wine trade between France and the UK. Hey-it's only $7.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    fast paced as always

    went along fine until I recognized the plot, possibly from a short story he wrote in the past. filled out and modernized. But a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2008

    Dick and Felix Francis are a great team

    A really good read. The Francis team works very well and it brings to mind the early Dick Francis books with tight plotting and interest to the last page. I hope the main charactors carry on in future books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

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