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
Handing the narrative reins to his champion sleuth, the retired steeplechase jockey Sid Halley, Francis launches confidently into an up-to-date exposé of the latest trends in horse racing skulduggery, from race fixing to online gambling cons.
« The New York Times
Beloved series character Sid Halley, a champion jockey, makes a welcome return in the latest fast-paced crime novel from bestseller Francis (Come to Grief). When a crippling injury forces Halley into retirement, he begins a second career as a PI. Thanks to his doggedness and integrity, he attracts many clients, including a mysterious government figure who asks him to assess the unintended consequences of Britain's legalization of Internet gambling, and others who wish him to unravel the nest of puzzles surrounding the murder of a jockey, Huw Walker, suspected of throwing races. This time, the sinister forces arrayed against him have an unexpected weapon threats of violence against Halley's new significant other. The writing and action are as crisp as ever, though longtime Francis fans may find the plot a little familiar. BOMC and Mystery Guild main selection. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
After six years in retirement Dick Francis is back in the crime-fiction saddle. For years this former jockey wrote riveting mysteries oriented around the racetrack. Thankfully, he's lost nothing in the interim, as the beginning of this book makes clear: "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."(26 Feb 2007)
After six years in retirement, Francis is back with another exciting thriller. Sid Halley, a former jockey who became a private investigator after being injured in a serious racing fall, now finds himself in even more danger off the track. After a day at the races that ends in three deaths, Sid ends up with a few too many jobs. Lord Enstone has asked him to find out why his horses keep losing, the father of the murdered jockey wants Sid to investigate his son's death, and his part-time boss at the secretive Cabinet Office wants Sid to look into organized crime's involvement with gaming centers and online betting. Francis, with the skill that has earned him three Edgar Awards, develops each of these inquiries, adding intriguing plot twists along the way. His characters come to life in Martin Jarvis's stellar performance of this enthralling mystery. Sure to be a best seller, Under Orderswill be an exciting treat for Francis's and Sid's many fans. Highly recommended for all public libraries.