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Flying Finish

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  2,373 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Lord Henry Grey was an amateur jockey and pilot. But when he decided to abandon his desk-bound job for an active career in the bloodstock market, he found there was more to couriering valuable horses around the world than he'd ever suspected.
Paperback, 340 pages
Published December 1st 1968 by Pan Books (UK) (first published 1966)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steelwhisper
This is easily the darkest, and probably one of the handful of best Dick Francis. What kills me on top, it still has a modern, a relevant feel, even though by now a lot of it is hopelessly dated: no mobiles, airports after 9/11, feminism in Italy, no more Yugoslavia. Instead now this book reads like an excellent historical, with the author commenting on the present through the past. I guess this has to be the ultimate test of an excellent genre book: the test of time and being as relevant now as ...more
Hana
Jul 16, 2015 Hana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry Grey is the only son of an earl--and he hates it. A loner, with a bit of an inferiority complex and a chip on his shoulders, Henry lives his life in boxes. He has few friends and is coldly shut off from his family. His two pleasures in life are riding as an amateur steeplechase jockey and flying. At the airfield where he learned to fly he's managed to keep his rank a secret and it's here he feels most at home. He has a boring 9-5 job desk job at a bloodstock agency handling paperwork on hi ...more
Cathy
Jul 02, 2009 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just listened to the Chivers Audio version of this book, narrated by Tony Britton, for the umpteenth time. I love the fact that it was written in the mid-1960's. It is classic Dick Francis and exactly what I want in a stress-relieving book on tape.
Harry
What is there to say about Dick Francis? As I think about all of his books (yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I've read them all) I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society - either directly or indirectly. The heroes aren't always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world.

But more tha
...more
Chris
This is an enjoyable Francis novel simply because the character of Gabriella is one of the better Francis heroines. It also stands out because the character of Henry goes though a believable character change and arc. There are connections in his growth and behavior that Henry doesn’t see, but that the reader does. The point of the novel seems to be class, and there is a slight plot hole that a reader will wonder about. Readers should be warned, however, that this is one of the more violent Franc ...more
B
Jun 13, 2014 B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A horse transport worker discovers that his company is not always on the up and up. This book takes place in Italy, having the main character falling in love as well.
Lots of death, exciting.
iamtedae
Sep 24, 2007 iamtedae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mystery/suspense
Shelves: favorites
Dick Francis, a little like Agatha Christie, must be a guilty pleasure. An author this prolific and popular must concede something of true quality, right? Well, perhaps. It's not great literature, but from what I remember from college work, great literature isn't exactly fun. What I say here can be said of everything I've come across in Francis's work.... an interesting, unusual, entertaining story with likable good guys, surprising bad guys, and interesting (and sometimes misleading) inbetween- ...more
Boots S
When amateur jockey and pilot Lord Henry Grey launches himself into a career in the bloodstock market, he finds more danger and excitement than he'd ever anticipated. Henry immediately takes to his glittering new world and, when he meets the glamorous Gabriella in Italy, is sure he's hit the good life. That is, until a horse mysteriously dies in transit and a colleague vanishes. Then Grey discovers that both his predecessors went missing in mysterious circumstances and begins to doubt the wisdom ...more
Algernon
Feb 16, 2011 Algernon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
[7 / 10] I'm a big fan of the author, and this book is in line with his usual output, a little too much so. There's the usual quiet, but secretly strong hero, getting mixed up with crooks and finding love along the way, also having his ass kicked by the bad guys but getting the better of them through sheer perseverance and endurance. Mr Francis hit on a winning formula and this book is a simple permutation of the successful elements deployed in the previous books. I just felt there's not enough ...more
Rachel Brown
Jul 15, 2014 Rachel Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, mystery, horses
Henry Gray is a lonely, buttoned down, slightly impoverished earl with a pilot's license, a chip on his shoulder about his ancestry, and a bad attitude in general. When his sister goes deservedly ballistic on him, he attempts to shake himself out of his rut by taking a job as a groom who escorts horses on international flights.

His life starts to change when he notices an odd pattern: grooms on flights between England and Italy tend to vanish in Italy. And then, on one flight, he meets an Italia
...more
Stephanie
Feb 07, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the indication otherwise, I did not read the paperback. Instead I found a first edition hardback of this 1966 classic for $1 at a library sale, and the cover (a pegasus covered in a Union Jack) is amazing! Very excited to add this to my Dick Francis collection. Beyond that, the book is pretty typical of the early DF books: very engaging, very British, and just a little bit brutal. This one does veer from his other novels, however, by leaving the reader a little big hanging at the end.
Kiri
Sep 28, 2015 Kiri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm starting to really enjoy Dick Francis. This is the second of his books that I've read (the other was Rat Race). Once again, we have a mystery/thriller tale at the intersection of the horse racing and general aviation worlds (this has got to be an unusual combo!). I like the protagonist in this book a bit better, because who doesn't love identifying with an introvert? But he sort of undergoes a bizarre personality shift about 2/3 through the book and then becomes a superhero, which is cool, b ...more
LJ
FLYING FINISH - Ex
Francis, Dick - 5th book

Lord Henry Grey was an amateur jockey and pilot. But when he decides to abandon his desk-bound job for an active career in the bloodstock market, he finds that there is more to couriering valuable horses around the world than he had ever suspected.

Interesting information about shipping horses and the dangers involved. Great character, excellent suspense.
Helen
Aug 25, 2016 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vivid characters and strong, engrossing detail about a world most of us know nothing about, horse transport by air. The story is technologically dated, but that only makes it feel like a slice of history, a window into the Cold War as seen by someone who only casually gave it thought--until people he cared about started disappearing. The opening paragraph hooks the reader with strong foreshadowing. This, and other similar, casually tossed off asides are instrumental in keeping us intrigued as th ...more
Joe Santoro
Aug 11, 2014 Joe Santoro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've only read a couple of them, but it amazes me every time that the author manages to tell good stories with engaging characters EVERY time in such a narrow scope. Even more amazing is that he creates a pile of new characters for every novel. Sure, the protagonist/narrator is a bit of a Marty Stu, but still, the books are always a fun read.

Flying Finish was no exception, dealing with a shipper of horses whose employees were mysteriously disappearing. The main character was an Earl who was an
...more
Ellen
Aug 13, 2011 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite author of all time!!!!! I am pretty sure that I have read all of his books. He writes mystery and it always includes horse racing in some way. This is my favorite one!!!!!! Even if you know nothing about racing or horses Dick Francis can draw you in and hold your interest. Fabulous characterization and storytelling.
Ed
Jun 13, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Finalist 1966 Gold Dagger Award; Finalist 1968 Edgar Award for Best Mystery "

Racing related thrillers - Henry Grey, an English duke, becomes bored with his lifestyle and, much to his parents' disgust, take a job transporting race horses by air in addition to taking flying lessons and being a horse jockey on weekends. When employees of the horse transporting agency begin disappearing Grey inquires into their disappearances. Before long he finds himself tangled up in a scandal that could put his
...more
Robin
Ends too abruptly without tying up loose ends, but good. Henry Grey is not the superhuman of Dick Francis' usual male protoganists.
Rebecca
Jun 02, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a different type of book from the other Dick Francis books I've read. It's more of a suspense novel than a mystery.
Margareth8537
Jun 12, 2013 Margareth8537 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
On a Dick Francis binge at the moment, and thoroughly enjoying re-reading him
John Marsh
Mar 30, 2015 John Marsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sue
Jun 30, 2012 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england, italy
Henry Grey has a desk job working for a company involved with arranging transport of horses. Unsatisfied with the job, he takes an opportunity to be the head groomsman with Yardman Transport, the transport company they most frequently work with. Given his title of Earl, people tell him the job is beneath him but Henry is just looking for a job where he can be satisfied and feel fulfilled. He enjoys it, except for some of the people he is working with, most noteably Billy who seems determined to ...more
Bev
Mar 05, 2011 Bev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Flying Finish is an aptly named mystery by Dick Francis. Published in 1966, I picked this one out for the Birth Year Challenge: Time Machine Version. I've read a couple of other Dick Francis books in the past, but I can't say that his mysteries really stick with me. This one will probably wind up going straight out my memory as well. It's a decently told story with a fairly interesting main character. But I can't say that Francis has ever sold me on his horse racing stories. I think perhaps if t ...more
LaDawn
Jun 13, 2014 LaDawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love the horse racing bits of Dick Francis novels and this was short on that. I was horrifically bored with the aircraft flying jargon that went on for far too long at regular intervals. In fact the ending could have been so considerably improved if the entire trip had been cut down to 20 words and a more satisfactory ending had been written. Also, I was annoyed with the love at first sight, didn't want to talk, just have sex, must be true love portrayal. It would have ended in divorce.
Anu
Oct 25, 2015 Anu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: krimi, dick-francis
See raamat on väga dickfranciselik - peategelaseks on vallaline meestegelane, kes on mingitel kindlatel aladel väga hea. Olemuselt üdini õiglane ja teistest mõnevõrra erinev.

Mingil hetkel hakkas mind häirima, et see raamat nii karm on, aga sisse toodi seejärel pööre, mis rõõmu tegi:)

Kuna ma raamatu poole päevaga läbi lugesin (ehk ei suutnud midagi muud teha, enne kui raamat läbi on), siis järelikult põnevust jagus ja emotsiooni sai.
Dillwynia Peter
Apr 08, 2013 Dillwynia Peter rated it really liked it
A friend destashed a load of books forever ago for me to read & pass on; this was one of them.

This is my 1st Dick Francis book & I think I will read another. I have a soft spot for 40s-60s suspense: the most sex you get is the hero kissing the girl; the most violence are guns, where people just fall down and lie dead, just like cartoon figures. I love their innocence and naivity and wish we had a little more in current fiction. Viseral realism can be exhausting.

And with Francis - there i
...more
Alarra
Jan 25, 2016 Alarra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, francis
I found this a bit hard to finish, not because it was bad, but because the last section is so brutal and scary and wearing. I expect the Francis hero to get knocked about usually, but there was so much collateral damage in this one, and the ending while hopeful doesn't exactly resolve as neatly and happily as a lot of the others do. And it's particularly striking because the beginning builds slowly with Henry being such a controlled figure that the strength of his emotion for Gabriella (and Patr ...more
Deborah A.
Jan 23, 2016 Deborah A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was just a child when I read Flying finish. It was my first Dick Francis novel and I was hooked.

Through the years Ive collected almost every one of his books and I have read them more times than I care to mention. Sid, Pip and Kit are just some of those who feel more like old friends than just fictional people in books.

Start reading now, you will never grow bored of these wonderful stories.
Pygmy
Dec 18, 2013 Pygmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Dick Francis usually writes a brand new character for every one of his mysteries, and this one in particular I found rather compelling. Like many of Dick Francis' protagonists, The main character isn't very aware of his own abilities, appeal, and strengths. He knows himself as suppressed and mild, drifting, introverted and socially awkward. The way he describes himself spoke a lot to me....except in my case, I rather lack the nerves of steel and cold willpower that he eventually exhibits in the ...more
Bruce
Jan 11, 2015 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry Grey is the son of an Earl, but the money is mostly gone. Henry wants nothing to do with a title, and works to make his own living. He rides steeplechase as a amateur, and takes a job transporting horses that have been sold via air. When he figures out the they are not only transporting horses he knows his life is in danger. No language, decent plot.
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Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

Dick Francis worked on his books with his wife, Mary, before her death. Dick considered his wife to be his co-writer - as he is quoted in the book, "The Dick Francis Companion", released in 2003:
"Mary and I worked as a team. ... I have often said that I would have been happy to have b
...more
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