Monday, February 15, 2010

Passages - Dick Francis

The mystery section of the bookstore in the Great Beyond is getting a little crowded. I read today that author Dick Francis passed away at the age of 89.

Writing was his second career. He published his first book after retiring from a successful, active career as a steeplechase jockey in England. Francis was a pretty good rider, to say the least, even riding for Queen Elizabeth II's mother in the Grand National Steeplechase. Authoring books presented less physical danger, but probably also less excitement.

Most of his mysteries were set around horses and racing. Sometimes characters showed up in more than one book, but most were stand alone stories with everyday folks solving mysteries that somehow showed up in their lives. Some of the leads were in more thrilling lines of work. My first ever Francis remains my favorite -- The Danger in which the male lead is a kidnapping expert for Lloyds of London.

His books weren't taut, action packed, high-tech thrillers, but they were no less compelling entertainment. You cared about his characters and rooted for them to win their battles, to cross their personal finish lines.

Mr. Francis leaves behind quite a legacy of work -- 42 books, including some written in his later years one of his son's, Felix.

Rest in peace, Dick Francis. Thanks for the ride.

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