Under Orders
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Under Orders (Sid Halley #4)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  3,040 ratings  ·  206 reviews
It's the third death that really troubles former champion jump-jockey Sid Halley. He knows the perils of racing all too well - but in his day, jockeys didn't usually reach the finishing line. But this is precisely how he finds Huw Walker - the new winner of the Triumph Hurdle and Halley's friend.
Unknown Binding
Published by Penguin Audio, (first published September 6th 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dec 27, 2012 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any horse &/or mystery lover
Shelves: dead-tree, mystery
It's been awhile since I've read a Dick Francis novel and Under Orders included everything that I've always loved about his writing. Sid Halley is a great "hero" though not in the usual sense of the term. Solid, smart and with a fair amount of "guts", he works methodically through his cases. The fact that he's a former jockey - former because of a life changing injury - brings an insight to the world of horse racing that other detectives wouldn't have. Of course, this insight is brought about by...more
Book Concierge
Audio book read by Martin Jarvis

Opening lines: 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.

Sid Halley is a former steeplechase jockey turned detective (following an accident which cost him his left hand.) He and his former father-in-law are at the track as guests of Lord Enstone but t...more
Ana Isabel Rebelo
O livro mostra a história de Sid Halley, um famoso jockey que abandonou as corridas de cavalos quando se viu incapacitado da mão esquerda, que depois lhe foi amputada devido a um ataque por alguém que quis desencorajar as suas investigações. Sid investiga casos relacionados com as corridas de cavalo, mundo que conhece como ninguém, e é neste contexto que surge este livro.
Três assassinatos ocorrem em apenas um dia e o principal suspeito comete um suposto suicídio passados uns dias. Tudo parece re...more
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
I learned a few weeks ago that Dick Francis had written a fourth Sid Halley novel in 2006. I rushed to the library and found a nice large print version. I am sorry to say that it was not up to the standard set by the earlier three, perhaps because Francis appears to have been writing it either during or just after his wife's last illness. The plot and climax were a bit far-fetched; the new character (Halley's in love!) was engaging, but what turned me off a bit was two kinds of superfluous verbi...more
Dick Francis is my most read author for a reason. His main characters are people I like, root for and whose humor I enjoy. They are not devoid of darkness but typically accept this and try to deal with it. This is a chief aspect of literature as I like it, the journey to know and accept oneself as one tries to take the high road. Such is the case here as one of his few returning characters, Sid Halley, continues his life through challenges of divorce and disability. There is an English reserve a...more
If you don't figure out who the murderer is early on, you've missed a big "tell." There was nothing subtle about this plot, and I really didn't care about Sid's sex life. I listened to this on audiobook, and fast forwarded several times - it just wanted to get on with the story, more to confirm that I knew who the murderer was than anything else. Francis also got bogged down in explaining molecular biology lab techniques, and he wasn't always completely accurate in his descriptions, so that was...more
Wayne Anthony
Was so crap and boring! What sad bastard wants to read but crime over a fucking horse race! Dick Francis NEVER AGAIN!
Kara Jorges
Sid Halley is back. The one-handed ex-jockey-turned-investigator is at Cheltenham Races on Gold Cup day when three deaths occur: one horse and two jockeys, one of whom is found murdered in the parking lot. Huw Walker’s death merely fuels the rumors he was involved in race fixing, and it looks like his boss, trainer Bill Burton, may have done it. When Bill is found dead in his home, the police want to rule his death a suicide, brought about by guilt over having murdered his jockey, but Sid believ...more
We don't recall that many of Francis' books feature a recurring leading man; but this one is the fourth in the ex-champion jockey, now private eye, Sid Halley series, scattered over many years of the author’s booklist. It was Dick’s first outing since the death of his wife Mary, who had been heavily involved in the research, editing, and perhaps even writing, of many/most of his books. Lately son Felix has been an official co-author (and perhaps/likely earlier unofficially); we wonder if Felix m...more

There was a time when I would buy the latest Dick Francis hardback every time I visited England in September. But that was in another life and I only recently caught up with this, Francis’ purported last solo effort. It was delightful to meet Sid Halley once again. He was the protagonist of the very first Dick Francis mystery that I read. I had read the dust cover on a copy I found in my local library and became hooked.

There was a certain and comfortable rhythm to most of the Francis’ mysteries,...more
For years i have read and loved novels by both horse racing legends Dick Francis & John Francome and i just had to choose at least one of thier novels to review because they are so utterly brilliant, and i have had many years of pleasure reading through many different titles. Under Orders is written by champion storyteller Dick Francis who is not only a racing legend but a pure genious when it comes to putting thoughts on to paper, and this little book was by far a firm favourite of mine tha...more
Lisa H.
For pretty much as long as I can remember, Dick Francis books have been around, in every new and used bookstore or library - the unmistakeable design of the US hardcover editions features brightly colored covers, with a stylized horse or horses on the front, because every book includes horses: set in the world of horse racing, or horse breeding, or someone has a valuable horse that is in danger; in short, horses abound. And that's OK, because Mr. Francis started his career as a jump jockey, and...more
I didn't really enjoy this book very much. I am an avid Dick Francis fan and have been for decades, and I regularly re-read his books. I adored all the earlier Sid Halley books, and thought that the finish in Come to Grief was the perfect ending for him. This book feels to me as though it were written by someone who had been told about the earlier books but had never read them.
Charles Rowland (spelled Roland in earlier books) has had such a drastic personality change I was wondering whether he...more
I think this is Francis's first book after his wife died. This is significant because some have suggested that his wife was actually the author of his books. I suspect that this is not the case, but I also suspect that she was his first editor, and that her influence is sadly missing.

Francis returns to Sid Halley again (the only recurring character he's ever written), an ex-jockey who works as an investigator on racing-related frauds. One of his cases is finding out if an owner's horses are losi...more
UNDER ORDERS (Suspense, UK, Cont) – VG+
Francis, Dick – 4th Sid Halley
Michael Joseph/Penguin, 2006 – Hardcover
*** Former steeplechase jockey, now investigator, Sid Halley, has his one real and one artificial hand’s full. While attending a steeplechase race, Lord Enstone asks that Sid investigate whether his horses’ trainer is deliberately influencing how they run. The trainers’ jockey, who had been trying to reach Sid, is found dead after having been shot three times. When, days later, the traine...more
This is the first Dick Francis I've read but I've heard good things about his work for years. So when I had the chance to pick up this title for my mystery group, I grabbed it.

I admit that I was the slightest bit skeptical because his subject is horse racing and I have negative zero interest in horses and horse racing. The book was so much more and I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, the subject is an ex-jockey turned investigator looking into the death of a jockey and a horse trainer. Was it...more
Sid Halley, one of Francis' most notable heroes, returns in this well paced thriller. Like all Francis novels, there's a wealth of specialized knowledge (this time on computerized betting and DNA profiling) that's been lovingly researched and worked into the narrative. I especially enjoyed the characteristic vindication Halley achieves for several deceased friends. Less successful was Halley's love interest -- well, to be fair, I do find the love interests in these books to be something that see...more
Dick Francis is one of the most prolific mystery writers around today, with many dozens of novels that feature horse racing sooner or later. After the publication of Shattered, and the death of his beloved wife, it seemed that he was done writing forever, but now, six years later, Under Orders shows that he is back and in fine form.

This book features Sid Halley, jockey-turned-sleuth, who once again, despite or because of physical threats, relentlessly seeks out the criminals at large in the hors...more
Kate Millin
Dick Francis has done it again, another excellent story - the 3rd Sid Halley one. Sid is investigating the deaths of 2 men - a jockey and trainer. As usual he stirs up people who don't like what he might find out and who get violent try and dissuade him from continuing. In another strand he is asked to investigate the development of online gambling - it is interesting to see how things were even a short time ago.
Connie N.
I'm a huge Dick Francis fan, and his Sid Halley character is one of my favorites. I always relate to the main character, not because I'm into horseracing or because I have an adventurous soul, but because he is normally low-key, with a wry sense of humor, and a strong belief in right and wrong. There's something very appealing about these people that makes me look forward to meeting them again and again in his books, even though they go by different names and may have different jobs and lives, t...more
I didn't realize until the end that this was the 4th and final book in the series. However I still enjoyed the story. The characters were well developed and the mystery was fantastic. Not a lot of gruesome details. To me, if felt almost like a grown up Nancy Drew book with action, adventure, romance and a touch of humor.
David Macpherson
Fine enough mystery. People were killed and the answer was there for our hero to find it, only because he learned a little something about the price of women's designer clothes. It all felt a little padded. Nothing bad about it, but it was written to be completed, to get it on the shelves and it felt disposable.
I was a bit disappointed in this book. In fact, 3 stars is a little generous. It conforms to the Francis formula, so in that sense it was comfortable - no real surprises. The clues were laid down in such a way that it was pretty clear which facts would become important even before it was clear how they would fit together. And knowing Francis, one could guess a lot about the penultimate scene.
The thing that bothered me most was that I found the writing awkward in places. I'm thinking particularl...more
My mother had been a big fan of Dick Francis but I have never read him. I found this book at my hotel's library while on vacation. It is an enjoyable mystery. I liked the character, Sid Halley. The mystery kep me alert for clues. It was a surprise to learn who the murderer was in the end. Overall, a good read.
It has been many a year since I read a Dick Francis book, so when I saw this one at the latest library book sale, I said, "Why not?"

Once the requisite murder(s) occurred, the story rolled along nicely and I enjoyed it. I have decided that a good mystery is a good mystery, as long as one can tolerate the characters and is at least mildly interested in the setting. This one threw in enough red herrings to keep me guessing and even a little romance.

I originally thought to award the book only three...more
Okay, Dick Francis is one of my all-time favorite authors and I think I can safely say that I have read everything he has written and listened to every unabridged title that Audible offers multiple, multiple times. (I'll take 3 stars out of petty cash, thank you).

This is the first of the books that Dick Francis wrote after the death of his writing partner--and partner in life--Mary and it has been a while since I read it. However, I do remember my reaction. The writing is terrible. The grammar a...more
Feb 05, 2008 Jeanine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery-lovers, Anglophiles, Equestrian fans
Dick Francis is somewhat predictable in that all of his books are really good. Not life-changing or "favorite book ever" but really enjoyable. Quick, easy reads; the kind you don't want to put down until you're done. There seems to be a formula involved: a little mystery, a little romance or other relationship, and just enough random tidbits of information to make you feel like you've learned something new in the process of enjoying a good read. I don't mind the formula because I like the books...more
April Hochstrasser
I listened to this book on CD. It was a little disconnected. The reason for the drama, the race fixing, was kind of lost in all the twists and schemes that were hatched to stop Sid Hailey from finding out about the race fixing. The drama took on a life of it's own and I kind of forgot what the first of the book was about. Not his best...or maybe listening to it, just slows me down so much that I'm disconnected because I can't listen for a long enough period of time. I started the first 5 CD's on...more
An exciting book, featuring jockey turned detective, Syd Halley . Sid had to stop riding horses when his hand was crushed by a horse's fall. He has a prosthetic device for his left hand which is very powerful as one sees in the story, especially in the ending. The mystery has its twists and turns and seems a tad more suspenseful than others , with near death and death experiences. The murder/ suicide angle is intriguing. And... Ilearned the meaning of "under orders", ie, when one scouts race hor...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dick Francis's Bloodline
  • At Risk (Steve Cline, #1)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the King's Evil: And Other New Tales Featuring the World's Greatest Detective (Sherlock Holmes, #4)
  • The Bookwoman's Last Fling (Cliff Janeway, #5)
  • Three Complete Novels: A is for Alibi / B is for Burglar / C is for Corpse
  • The Way to Dusty Death
  • Murder Among Us (Mitchell and Markby Village, #4)
  • The Island Stallion Races (The Black Stallion, #11)
  • The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax
  • The Moai Murders (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #9)
  • Good Blood (Gideon Oliver, #11)
  • The Barker Street Regulars (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #11)
  • A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, #10)
  • A Sudden, Fearful Death (William Monk, #4)
  • Centered Riding
  • Walking Shadow
  • Self's Deception (Gerhard Self #2)
Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

* Sid Halley Mystery
* Kit Fielding Mystery
More about Dick Francis...
To the Hilt Dead Heat Proof Whip Hand (Sid Halley, #2) Bolt (Kit Fielding, #2)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »