Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4)
  • Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4)
  • Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4)

Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4)

4.2 26
by Dick Francis

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Sid knows the perils of racing all too well, but in his day jockeys didn't usually cross the finish line with three .38 rounds in the chest-which is how he found Huw Walker, the winner of a coveted race only a few hours earlier. Now Halley's quest for answers will push him to his very limits-both on and off the track.  See more details below


Sid knows the perils of racing all too well, but in his day jockeys didn't usually cross the finish line with three .38 rounds in the chest-which is how he found Huw Walker, the winner of a coveted race only a few hours earlier. Now Halley's quest for answers will push him to his very limits-both on and off the track.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Ending a six-year publishing hiatus (after the tragic death of his wife and fellow collaborator, Mary, in 2000), the 86-year-old Grand Master of Crime Fiction, Dick Francis, is back with a new mystery starring ex-jockey/detective Sid Halley (Come to Grief, Whip Hand, et al.).

Halley and his best friend -- his former father-in-law, Charles Rowland -- are enjoying a day at the races, attending the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup in Gloucestershire. The event, however, is marred by three bizarre deaths: A fan suffers a heart attack; Oven Cleaner, a "god among racehorses," suddenly dies after winning a race; and an acclaimed jockey named Huw Walker is found dead with three bullet holes in his chest. Halley is hired on to investigate, but the allegedly open-and-shut case involving marital infidelity soon becomes complicated with rumors of race fixing and high-stakes gambling.

Under Orders is unquestionably vintage Francis; but the story behind the novel is what makes this release so noteworthy. For years, Francis has credited his beloved wife with playing an integral role in the creation of his novels -- as editor, researcher, and even coauthor. Under Orders, the first novel since her passing, is interspersed with lines that could have much deeper, more intimate connotations: "To love someone is a delight; to be loved back as well is a joy beyond measure." One thing is certain: After six years, Francis is right where he belongs -- back in the literary saddle. Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sid Halley Series, #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 26 reviews.
PatrickZJD More than 1 year ago
As a young boy in the early 1980s, I would thrill to watch "The Dick Francis Mysteries - The Racing Game" on PBS' "Mystery." (Indeed, one of my highlights during a summer spent in Ireland in 1987 with my brother was unexpectedly catching an episode on RTE, the one with "New Year Lad.") Sid Halley was one of the more offbeat detectives you'd encounter, being a championship steeplechase jockey permanently crippled and become a successful private investigator having a natural predilection for racecourse crimes as his preferred work. Mike Gwilym, a sublimely underrated Shakespearean actor, gave his portrayal of Halley the correct amount of pathos, vulnerability, and strength that the character demonstrated ever since his debut in Francis' "Odds Against," and the episodes piqued my interest enough that I soon became a devoted lifelong reader of all of Dick Francis' works. Thankfully, "Under Orders" is a worthy edition to the Sid Halley mysteries, a clever (if not totally creative) murder mystery involving race fixing and Internet gambling with the requisite Dick Francis physically-violent denouement that is sure to please all of Sid's and Dick's fans. Also, without wishing to reveal anything, it is nice to see for once that Halley gets a satisfying break in his personal life. Should this prove to be Sid Halley's final mystery, I think there are far worse ways to go. All in all, a tour de force from Mr. Francis, for which this fan is extremely grateful.
barrykat More than 1 year ago
As a long-time Dick Francis fan, it surprised me to realize how long it's been since I read one of his novels. "Under Orders" did not disappoint. Mr. Francis' hero is full of grit and stubborness, and I enjoyed the way he investigates while doing his best to protect what he considers to be the needful things of life - including the woman he loves. A great read - couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While Dick Francis' novel are often simmiliar in theme, he alters the plots & characters so well it becomes a new read each time. This is a credit to his skill at crafting a clever plot with new antagonists and schemes for the reader to enjoy. Under Orders is one of the more enjoyable I have read lately.
moortina More than 1 year ago
I have read every Dick Francis novel and was delighted when there was another one to settle into. There's never a relaxed moment with Francis, let alone in this intriguing plot and with this great protaganist. Good mix of romance, nastiness, murder, and character. A page-turner. Strongly recommend for pure reading enjoyment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank you for another wonderful,rollicking ride with Sid!!!! In reading the reviews below I find that I must disagree with the one who found the characters 'out of character'. Characters that are believeable and real are allowed to mature, age and become more enlightened with the passing of years just as real people are Sid's added introspection and soul searching merely makes him more human and believable. Though I must say his internal consternation in Whip Hand far exceeded any softness displayed in Under Orders. After all, we have seen him through some horrendous adventures, and he has suffered both physically and mentally to a degree that would have been mind breaking to most of us 'real' people. I find that at 54 I have a greater appreciation for life and love and view it all quite differently than I did at 24. My recognition of the fragility of what we hold dear in life is much more acute as age advances. So with this in mind, I find that we should allow the ageing Sid this same courtesy of maturity, wisdom, and perhaps a bit of caution. And however he found Marina, I am glad for them. Thank you Mr. Francis and I hope that racing will continue, as it always has, to produce many more colorful villains for Sid to bring to justice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled to learn there was a new Dick Francis book out there and read it through as soon as I could get my hands on it. I was slightly disappointed in the new personalities of some the characters compared to past books. But I did get accustomed to the new personalities rather quickly and thoroughly enjoyed another Dick Francis thriller. I hope Mr. Francis won't wait so long to publish his next one.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Of course, you need a voice with a touch of the Brit about it to read the latest from Dick Francis, and the perfect narrator is found in Martin Jarvis. With a career that spans the Atlantic, Jarvis has performed in leading roles for the BBC and National Theatre in Britain. In Hollywood he's been seen in Murder, She Wrote and Titanic. His voice is authoritative, and his enunciation keen. Highly listenable! In this, his 42nd book, Francis wastes no time in hooking readers. We hear: 'Sadly, death at the races is not uncommon. However, three in a single afternoon was sufficiently unusual to raise more than an eyebrow. That only one of the deaths was of a horse was more than enough to bring the local constabulary hotfoot to the track.' One of the recently departed is jockey Huy Walker - dispatched with three bullets to the heart. He had been having an affair with trainer Bill Burton's wife. That was more than enough to put Burton at the top of the suspect list......until Burton himself turned up dead. Halley had been approached by Lord Enstone to look into why Enstone's horses weren't getting anywhere near the Winner's Circle. Enstone wants to know what's going on at the track - bribes, race fixing? Well, that kind of skullduggery is bad enough but murder is quite another thing. Halley feels compelled to look into the killings, but in doing so puts his own life at risk. As always, listeners will relish the author's thorough knowledge of racing and his deft way with a plot. Racing, as we know, is the sport of kings. Exemplary crime fiction is the sport of Dick Francis. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dick Francis hasn't lost a step during his hiatus. As a long time fan I was thrilled to hear he was writing again. More please...
harstan More than 1 year ago
Former Jockey Sid Halley lost the use of his left hand and thus is unable to ride any longer he went on to become a private detective. He has a thriving business because his clients know that the more someone threatens him, the more he will go after that person and bring him or her to justice. On Cheltenham Gold Cup day, Lord Enstone hires Sid to find out why his horses aren¿t winning and he want to find out if his trainer Bill Burton and jockey Huw Walker have something to do with fixing the races. --- Neither Bill nor Huw have a good reputation as rumors swirl that they are dirty. When one of Lord Enstone¿s horses wins, Sid notices Bill and Huw argue. The sleuth later comes across Huw¿s bullet ridden body. Suspicion falls on Bill as the killer but the police don¿t have enough evidence to charge him. When his body is found by assistant trainer Juliet, the police assume he committed suicide rather than face a marathon jail sentence Sid thinks murder occurred. He sets out to prove his premise, but by doing so he places his life and that of his lover Marina in danger. --- It has been six years since the death of his beloved wife Mary and his last novel, but his fans will appreciate that Dick Francis has left the starting gate to cross the finish line with another first place showing as the master still has the winning ticket. Although the protagonist has to wear a prosthesis, he doesn¿t feel sorry for himself and that results in the audience caring about him and hoping he solves the case without his lover getting hurt. Welcome back Mr. Francis to the saddle, we missed your perfecta horse racing mysteries. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 9 months ago
lorrib More than 1 year ago
welcome back Sid!
LunaTuna More than 1 year ago
Dick Francis was (is) a great thriller/mystery writer who combined steeplechase racing with many great heros. You will learn about wine making, glass blowing, movie making, jockies, and all of the workings behind racing in Great Britian and the rest of the world. The main characters are believable individuals the average person can relate to.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh, how I looked forward to this novel after a long, six-year dry spell. Sadly, much of the depth and richness of Francis' characters, dialogue, sense of place are missing. Continuity suffers, too, as, after three Sid Halley novels, major character have suffered 180-degree shifts in personality. Halley's trusted but undemonstrative father-in-law (whose name before now has been Roland and now is Rowland) is portrayed as indecisive, emotional, and all but alchoholic. Stoic, thoughtful Sid is uncharacteristically wearing his heart on his sleeve, babbling through clumsy, meaningless dialogue, and showing his private doubts and insecurities where he once went to great lengths to keep from showing them to anyone but himself. Without so much as a single sentence about what became of his newly acquired girlfriend from his previous adventure (Come To Grief), he is presented here with a new girl whose entry into Sid's life is glossed over with a throwaway sentence and whose character is not well developed in any sense. Archie Kirk, reappearing here after his introduction in the previous book, has also suffered an abrupt personality change, losing his self-contained confidence and his wry awareness of human failings. When I read, I immerse myself in the time, place, and characters of the author--especially an author whose work I treasure as I do Mr. Francis'. In this book, there was too little depth in which to immerse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just picked up Dick Francis' newest book for my mom's birthday present. She's been a big fan for years. I know she'll let me borrow it after she reads it! She 'turned me on' to D. Francis stories just this year and I really enjoy them so much and plan to read many more. Currently greatly enjoying High Stakes...Author's Style: love the 'British-speak' and his style of combining a calm English manner with fast moving suspense. Jolly Good Fun!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The new Dick Francis 'Under Orders' is wounderful from start to finish. I savored every page. Let's hope there are many more Dick Francis mysteries to come