“[Felix Francis] has one priceless advantage. He couldn’t have had a better teacher.”—The Washington Times
Praise for Dick Francis’s Gamble
“[Felix] Francis…proves himself more than capable of carrying on the family legacy alone...Francis shares his father's gift for brisk storytelling—and for creating a sympathetic, wounded, but determined hero.”—Publishers Weekly
Francis ably follows in the footsteps of his father, Dick Francis, with his second stand-alone set in the English horse racing world (after 2011’s Dick Francis’s Gamble). Mark Shillingford, a TV commentator who covers horse races, is ridden with guilt over an argument he had with his jockey twin sister, Clare, after discovering that she was losing some races deliberately. In the aftermath of the confrontation, an angry Mark lets Clare’s phone messages go to voicemail, a choice he regrets after Clare apparently leaps to her death from a London hotel window. Mark resolves to discover what really happened in the hotel room before the fatal plunge. Suspecting that his sister’s cheating was more extensive than she admitted, he studies old video images of her recent races to spot a pattern that may identify those who wanted her dead to cover up the fraud. Fans will have a hard time distinguishing this solid thriller from the father’s work. Agent: Philippa Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct.)
When race caller and television producer Mark Shillingford accuses twin sister Clare, an accomplished jockey, of throwing a race, she storms off—and later is found dead beneath the balcony of her London hotel. Another horse-race novel from Francis, who's following in his Edgar Award—winning father's hoof prints.
The late Dick Francis' son and sometime collaborator follows his first solo canter (Dick Francis's Gamble, 2011) with more of the same. Once upon a time, Mark Shillingford and his twin sister, Clare, both wanted to be jockeys. Clare succeeded, Mark didn't. But since he still follows his twin's races both personally and professionally, as an announcer and television interviewer, he's on hand to call a race Clare deliberately loses, though no one else notices. Over a tense dinner afterward, Clare doesn't deny her guilt, passing her behavior off as no big deal, something she's done perhaps four or five times before. Several hours later, she's dead after a header from the balcony of a London hotel. Did she fall, or was she pushed--and what was she doing in Park Lane in the first place when she'd told Mark she was going straight to her Newmarket home? Cold-shouldered by both the police, who blandly assume from a note she left behind that Clare killed herself, and his domineering father, whose only reaction to his youngest daughter's death is angry gloom, Mark resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery. It's just as well that he's developing a new interest, since his married lover is about to drop him and his job is threatened by a hungry rival. Mark's inquiries will bring him up against a spiteful racing correspondent, several questionable trainers, a possible new romance and an ingenious serial blackmailer who seems intent on continuing his extortion demands from beyond the grave. The usual pleasures of Francis father and son, from inside dope about announcing races to carefully controlled bursts of physical violence, fly by with all the speed of a promising filly on her second one-mile run.