Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4)

Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4)

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425217566
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/31/2007
Series: A Dick Francis Novel Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 320,104
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.


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


Dropped out of Maidenhead County School at age 15.

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Under Orders (Sid Halley Series #4) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 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
smik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three deaths in one day at a race meeting is a bit traumatic, especially when one of them is the murder of a jockey. In this, the most recent of the Sid Halley novels, Sid becomes involved as the dead jockey has already left two pleading messages on his answering machine. Sid is convinced that the jockey and his trainer are somehow involved in race fixing. During the course of this investigation we learn quite a bit about the recent phenomena of online betting, a system where only the punters lose, but it helps of course if you know horses are not going to win. The investigation brings real danger as well as unwanted publicity to ex-jockey and one handed sleuth Sid Halley and his girlfriend Marina. Francis has had a 6 year break in publications and this book has been long anticipated by his fans. For me this is as good as Francis has ever been
booklog on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A third tale about jockey-turned-private-eye Sid Halley, "Under Orders" resolves Sid's feelings about his ex-wife, gives him a new one, and confirms the proposition that you can only defeat bullies by standing up to them, despite the horrific costs of doing so. The mystery itself was only so-so (the culprits were clear early on, although the exact mechanisms required work).
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Featuring Sid Halley, the one-handed ex-jockey turned investigator (previous outings in Whip Hand, Odds Against, etc.), this was a slightly more loggy Francis than I remembered. A race-fixing scheme and a couple of murders, along with an attack on Halley's new girlfriend liven things up, but lengthy segments on internet gambling weren't all that fun to sweat through. (Yes, this was elliptical fodder, as well-lol!)I almost had the feeling that a few of the passages had been used previously.... I will, of course, have to read back through a few others to find out if it's only writing style that jogged my memory, or if there is a bit of self-cribbing going on.
TheoClarke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A ripping yarn that races along. I read it at a single sitting over three mugs of coffee so it is not hugely demanding. I enjoyed the experience although I felt that this return of ex-jockey Halley as a hero also involved undesirably familiar plot elements from the previous Halley tales.
bookappeal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Classic Dick Francis. The man is back. Not great literature but great fun. A hero with an electric arm who still doesn't back down from a fight for justice and right - what's not to love?
ellenr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dick Francis is back in fine form. The return of a well-liked character in typical gentlemanly style and suspense with a glimpse of the behind the scenes of horseracing.
phalaborwa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disappointing to this devoted Francis fan; not up to the standard of some of his earlier work, but still a fun read with a likable former jockey and amateur sleuth as the lead character.
Suerreal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just finished this. Very satisfying read, and achieved closure on many fronts.This is Dick Francis's first novel since the death of his wife, Mary. Many of DF's novels featured an insider's view of a field such as flying, painting, photography, wine-making, or British politics. The research was extremely well done, and DF made no secret of the fact that Mary did almost all of the research.Shortly before her death, there were dark whispers that she also did most of the writing, taking advantage of Dick's fame and reputation as a champion steeplechase jockey. I'm afraid that Dick's decision to retire from writing after she passed away may have given some credence to those whispers.Then, much to my surprise and delight, a new novel came out last fall. A novel featuring Sid Halley, the protagonist in three previous novels who had recovered from personal tragedy to achieve a fair degree of success, but not happiness, not peace.Under Orders featured an insider's view of English horse racing, which required no research at all for DF, and a view of internet gambling that was not as deep as views of other subjects in previous novels. But Sid was clearly Sid, and the other old characters still the same, and the new characters well developed and believable. The writing was the same as before, putting to rest, for me at least, any doubts that DF had written all of the previous novels.And in this novel, I believe Sid did find what had eluded him in the past, happiness and peace. If DF never writes again, I would think that this book makes a most satisfactory ending. Perhaps with it, he, like the character that I always thought was a thin disguise, has regained some happiness and peace.
tcarter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not one of his best, but perfectly acceptable beach / holiday fodder.
jbennett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like many of the other reviews I found this up to Francis's usual standard: great fun, topical and a 'page turner'.I had forgotten about Sid Halley until a little way into the book, but investigating the suspicious death of a jockey leads him into all sorts of danger which manages to escape from.
salmonchick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was SO happy to see another book come out by one of my all time favourite authors. And featuring one of my favourite characters, Sid Halley. With thoroughbreds and racecourses as the backdrop, and villans around every corner, this proves to be another thrilling read.
EPClark More than 1 year ago
As one of the last acts in the twilight of his career, Dick Francis took his favorite character, Sid Halley, out for one last race. Things have changed a bit since Sid Halley first appeared, back in 1965. As part of the time warp I mentioned in one of my earlier reviews, Sid has only aged about 10 years in the intervening 40, but he's changed a lot for all that. He's no longer the bitter, lonely man he was at the beginning, but has success, respect, and a very attractive and intelligent girlfriend--he gets a new one in each book, each one prettier, smarter, and more successful than the last (one has to give Francis his due: his heroes tend to find intelligent and successful women to be powerfully attractive, even as they negotiate a very uneasy line vis-a-vis feminism and liberal or left-wing political movements in general--at heart they're lone wolves who, like Tsvetaeva, are made squeamish by any kind of -ism, since subscribing to an -ism would force them to come face-to-face with their own radicalism...but that's a topic for another essay). In fact, in some ways Francis's late works come full circle back to where the earliest ones started, and engage in some of the fairly blatant wish fulfillment that we see in books like "Dead Cert." His work, while to a certain extent quite uniform, can be divided into definite periods: the zany capers of the early 1960, such as "Nerve" and "For Kicks," the exploration of very dark themes of the late 1960s, starting with "Odds Against," the first Sid Halley book, the jet-setting, comparatively light-hearted stories of the 1970s, in which his characters have wild adventures in exotic locations such as South Africa (Smokescreen), Australia (In the Frame), or the Soviet Union (Trial Run), the intense family dramas of the 1980s, of which "The Danger," "Hot Money," "Straight," and "Longshot" all stand out, along with the Kit Fielding books--the 1980s may have been Francis's golden era--the alternatingly dark and lyrical works of the early 1990s, such as "Wild Horses," "Come to Grief," and "To the Hilt", and then the much slighter (in my opinion), almost sketch-like works of his late period, beginning with "Second Wind." "Under Orders" is more substantial than some of his other late works, and is certainly well worth reading, but in some ways it's more like a gentle canter through a greatest hits album rather than a headlong gallop through new terrain (yes, I mixed those metaphors on purpose). Still, Sid Halley is such a magnetic character that it's almost impossible to go wrong with him, and there are some of Francis's trademark heart-in-your-mouth action sequences created out of seemingly ordinary, everyday materials. And if you've been following along with his adventures for all this time, it's rewarding to see him finally get all the things he deserves. "Under Orders" isn't Francis's strongest work, but it is likely to warm the hearts of long-time Francis fans everywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago