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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,786 ratings  ·  100 reviews
The privately owned Stratton Park racecourse faces ruin in the hands of a squabbling family. Because of shares inherited from his mother, Lee Morris is unwillingly sucked into the turmoil. A half-outsider, he is faced with difficult choices which have deadly consequences.
Hardcover, Large Print, 400 pages
Published 1994 by G K Hall (first published February 1st 1993)
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Lee Morris is the kind of guy you’d want for a friend. He’s self-assured in many ways, physically strong and mentally at the top of his game. Lee makes a living by prowling around Britain scouting out old ruined buildings and businesses he can remodel, restore, and revitalize.

Lee shares his house with his wife, Amanda, and six boys. He’s a good dad despite the coldness and apathetic distance of the marriage, which is crumbling and dying not from verbal abuse so much as from a lack of love and co
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
This novel stands out because Lee is one of the few Francis characters to have children. And Lee’s love for his children is very strong. It’s strange because the character does not have a good relationship with his wife and the romance, if you wish to call it that seems to occur with a character that really isn’t an entity. In fact, Lee’s wife Amanda seems to be a Disney mother – not there but supposedly a good one.
That said Lee and his children are extremely well drawn. One wonders if Francis
The dysfunctional Stratton family are owners of the Stratton Park racecourse. The racecourse is old and in need of repair but the family is divided on what to do: modernize, leave as-is, or sell. Lee Morris, related through the elder Lord Stratton, owns seven shares and decides to attend one of the shareholder meetings. That was where he became aware of the family secrets so dear that they’d do anything to cover them up. Lee takes an interest in the proceedings. As an architect, he understands ...more
Lee Morris is a hands-on builder as well as an architect. He and his wife Amanda married at the age of nineteen and still relatively young, are now the parents of six boys. Lee's mother was once married to Keith Stratton, one of the sons of Lord Stratton, owner of Stratton Park racecourse. It was an abusive marriage and when Lee's mother left, abandoning her daughter Hannah, her father-in-law gave her eight shares in the racecourse which Lee inherited on his mother's death. Lee is not related to ...more
Lee Morris, the father of 6 sons is estranged from his wife even though they are still living together. He is owner of a few of stock in a racecourse. He finally goes to a meeting and meets the Stratton family in person. His mother had been married to one of the Strattons but he was not Lee's father. Her second husband was. Lee takes his sons on a outing to the racecourse in their "bus" and they have a great time until they run into the worst of the Strattons, Keith who was his mother's first hu ...more
Brenda Kirton
This is my favorite of the Dick Francis novels. I fell in love Lee Norris. He is someone I would like to know in real life. The story is intense and low key at the same time. When the protagonist in Dick Francis novel is hurt (and they usually are), they hurt but keep going. Part of the appeal to his novels is this approach to life. Even though he started off writing about jockeys, Dick Francis continued on to write about so many other fields, like in this on where Lee Morris is an architect who ...more
Gerald Curtis

This is only my second Dick Francis book, and I can assure you it won’t be my last. I enjoyed it far more than my first, which I liked very much. What an incredible depth this author achieves, yet in such incremental steps that the accumulated complexity never overwhelms the reader. And what a wide range of perfectly believable characters he creates. You feel as though you are peeking into people’s real lives.

While it started slowly, the last half was one of those "you can't put it down" storie
I love this one. It's the first mystery he's ever written where the hero had kids, so he gave him seven. All boys. On the other hand, he went back to the unhappy marriage theme letting the wife have an affair and the hero long to have one. Can't have everything. A great example of the history factor where it is only by learning what characters have done that the hero can blackmail his way to safety. Also a fine example of psychological detection, since the hero must consider the various members ...more
I adore the strong male characters in Dick Francis mysteries. The protagonist in this one could take a beating without complaint, out-manipulate bad guys full of uncontrollable rage, design beautiful homes from ruined historical buildings as both builder and architect, provide excellent parenting skills to his five sons, all while restoring a family-owned racetrack to great reknown. I want to marry a Francis-protagonist. What a renaissance man!
I love Dick Francis' characters. They are very philosophical and good-natured, able to survive the most horrible calamities with a sense of humor. The hero of this book is in a rather depressing marriage, but as usual is a very likable guy. Fast-paced and tense, as most of his books are.
I liked Lee Morris quite a bit and was hoping he'd somehow get a happy ending out of this story, but I will grudgingly accept that it ended the best way it could. I suppose this is book that "ends the way it should", but it left me a little more dissatisfied than those types of endings usually do. Overall a pleasant read though. The characters were incredibly realistic and the progression of events was both believable and well-paced. This book is home to quite possibly the easiest to dislike ant ...more
Lynn Brewer
I loved the main character of this book. I always enjoy Dick Francis mysteries.
Mary Schneider
Dick Francis is in top form with his book Decider. I've loved his novels since high school. He's got a firm grasp of characterization and a way of drawing the reader in to a fast-paced story that has unexpected surprises at every turn.

Decider is the story of Lee Morris, an architect who gets pulled into the affairs of the Strattons, a well-to-do racing family. His mother was once married to Keith Stratton, an abusive, sadistic bully.

The internal stresses of the family, combined with a debt only
Probably a three-star book overall, but in comparison to the rest of the Francis novels I've read it's only two. There are several elements that are atypical: One, instead of being single and childless, Lee Morris is married and has a whole passel of children. And two, instead of getting up to his ears involved in the goings on Lee remains in the background. I mean, he's definitely involved but mostly in a passive way. More the idea man than the doer, mover and shaker. These things aren't bad by ...more
An Odd1
"Decider" by Dick Francis is the unique small something like an old oak, that builder-architect Lee Morris determines whether one buys a ruined property, or his balance of eight shares in his late mother Madeline's previous husband violent Keith's Stratton family racetrack (unsure). I remember the narrator and father of six sons, one baby at home with Amanda, caught in an explosion because of Toby 12 hiding despite loudspeaker warning, saved by Neil 7 who discovered the detonation cord. Secretly ...more
Lee Morris is an architect with six children. He takes the five oldest (all boys) on a vacation in their bus from Easter holidays. While away, he attends his first meeting of the Stratten Race Track stock holders, in which he has an 8% interest which he inherited from his mother. He finds the Strattens are a wealthy family who have paid to keep their many secrets hidden. There is a lot of dislike of him as he is an outsider. The family is also divided between closing down the track and selling t ...more
Don't often get families in a Dick Francis thriller, but this one is full of them. Contrast the six sons of the architect protagonist Lee Morris against the tangled ties of the Strattons, the dysfunctional family pa excellence.

Horses are involved, but in a peripheral fashion. There's more action in the building and demolition trade in this story.

Lee's six boys rampage through the narrative, playing pirates, munching through containerloads of fruitcake, getting into trouble, and generally having
Francis, Dick - 32nd book

Lee Morris, 35, is an architect/builder specializing in restoring "ruins" like his own splendid barn house inhabited by his six sons and his lovely, but increasingly remote, wife. He is also one of few shareholders in Stratton Park racecourse, ownership of which is being hotly contested by the heirs of Lord Stratton. Lee's mother had married and quickly divorced the baron's vicious son Keith. Since part of her divorce settlement included the racecourse stock,
I've been meaning to read a Dick Francis book for several decades. I had a page a day calendar that told me I was missing out if I didn't. Well, darn if that calendar wasn't correct. The book wasn't at all what I expected but I enjoyed it immensely. It's British drawing room mystery of the best kind. Crusty aristocracy and interesting details about both horse racing and architecture. A sympathetic protagonist and a neat ending. I've gone straight to the used book store and bought two more.
Francis' 34th book all of them about horse racing somehow how does he keep it all fresh? Archi-tect/builder Lee Morris becomes involved against his will with the dysfunctional Stratton family who run the Stratton Park racecourse. (Morris' mother's first marriage was to a Stratton and she passed on her shares in the racecourse to Lee, her son by her second marriage.) The action takes place over Easter vacation when Lee and his five sons, on holiday in their converted bus camper, attend a race at ...more
Surprisingly good and consistent writing from an author whose books I can't tell apart because they seem to all have the same cover. I don't know how someone can write so many horse-related mysteries, but somehow every one I've read so far has been interesting and varied. This particular story had an engaging 'everyman' sort of protagonist, who is dragged into a family feud after inheriting shares to a race course in need of repair. Like a normal person, he tries to get out of the mess, but some ...more
I’m a huge Dick Francis fan. To be frank, I’ve yet to find a book he’s written that I don’t like. He just has a way of writing mysteries that are simple and suck you in.

In this novel, the main character is a contractor drawn in behind the scenes of a racecourse on the death of his former step-father. I thoroughly enjoy when the main characters fall into these circumstances quite by mistake. Since Dick Francis books always revolve around horse, and usually horse-racing, in one way or another, I l

One of my favorites, not because there's more about houses and architecture than about horses, but because the family dynamics are so true. Lee knows how and when to compromise or stand firm, his boys learn some character development, and the tempestuous horror-ridden Strattons are forced to face the reality of unchanging character disasters.
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It's always fun to read a Dick Francis mystery, and this is one of my favourites (I think this is the third time I've read it).

This time around the protagonist (Lee Morris) is a builder and architect who specializes in innovative ways of bringing back to life ruins, dilapidated old barns, and the like - very forwarding looking in 2003, especially these days when everything seems to be about "sustainability."

Of course, like all of Francis's protagonists, Lee is intelligent, resourceful, confiden
Another great book by my fav, Dick Francis. One of the few where the hero is married and has children. Loved the kids in this book, loved the way Lee Morris loved and protected them. Interesting fast moving story as always. I could really visualize the big top they put up as temporary stands.

If you haven't read Dick Francis, you should. He's the only mystery author that I reread over and over again. It isn't about who done it. In fact, many times the reader knows from the beginning. It's about w
Ken Houck
I love Dick Francis but this book falls short of his usual work. Lee Morris does not come from a racing background and his troubled family make h a character not as much to my liking.
This is an OK book for me. Probably the most unusual Dick Francis book I've ever read. It had the weirdest character dynamics I've ever encountered in a book before. The Strattons have a pathological hate for a person they didn't know to the point that several members would attempt to kill the lead character out of pure contempt for his existence. Also the lead character is in a loveless marriage with a woman who is cheating on him while he has a crush on a 19yr old girl who is the spitting imag ...more
GS Nathan
Dick Francis' novels are always enjoyable - I truly envy his ability to draw from different sources and occupations for his characters. Here his hero is an architect in the business of rebuilding ruins who finds himself caught up in bizarre shenanigans at a racecourse. Very well written, almost to the point where you don't notice how well written, the story catches hold and winds down to its climax as all is revealed.

Racing forms the common background to all Dick Francis stories; but as always,
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Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

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“I waved back and went in, and began to sort my way through ancient building plans that had been rolled up so long that straightening them out was like six bouts with an octopus.” 1 likes
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