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Proof

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,614 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
When a typically perfect party at wine merchant Tony Beach's is brutally crashed, he finds himself caught in the terrifying midst of a mystery that begins with sham scotch and counterfeit claret and escalates to hijacking and murder....
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Jove (first published September 24th 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robin Donovan
Feb 05, 2012 Robin Donovan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Frances has a unique way of creating protagonists. Instead of having one main character in a variety of settings, he has a variety of main characters in the horse care and racing setting. This gives the reader a true range of behaviors. Some of his characters are better persons than others, some are more fortunate, but all are realistic in the sense that they are good people who are competent and vulnerable.

In the case of Proof, Frances adds an additional element to his protagonist, Tony B
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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
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Contrarius
Jul 21, 2011 Contrarius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
As with many Francis books, the title of Proof has multiple meanings. "Proof" of guilt, "Proof" of alcohol content, "Proof" of courage, and even "Proof" that life can continue after loss. All four are explored in this volume. In Proof, Francis gives us a look at the wine and spirit industry from the viewpoint of a liquor merchant who has recently become a widower. At the beginning of the book the merchant is terribly depressed from the loss of his wife, and also weighed down by a conviction that ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
This was an excellent production by BBC Radio 4 with a full cast dramatization.

Wine merchant Tony Beech is catering an upmarket party when a runaway horse float crashes into the marquee killing several people.

At the same time he is inveigled into investigating a suspected fraud, where inferior product is being sold off as top of the line whisky, brandy and wine.

There is an intoxicating blend of deception, intrigue, and murder in this book. It would have rated a full star higher except that the
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Jane Stewart
Typical formulaic mystery. I wasn’t pulled in.

I wanted to give this author a try. So now I’ve read two of his books and I’m done. He’s just not for me. He writes straight mystery. I want more interesting characters, relationship development, and dialogue. There was potential for Tony and the private detective Gerard to be unusual or have an interesting relationship, but that wasn’t done.

This is a story about a good guy investigating, being in danger, eventually figuring out the mystery, and cat
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Cathleen
Next to Break In, this may be my favorite Dick Francis story. The storyline is intriguing, enthralling and heartbreaking. Anything I know about scotch, I learned from Dick Francis. Twenty years after reading Proof, I bought a bottle of Laphroaig for my boss based simply on this book. A definite winner!
Sue
Jan 05, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england
Tony Beach is a wine merchant with a small shop. He also provides the alcohol/drinks for parties. While at a party he did annually for a horse trainer, there is a horrible accident when a horse trailer careens down the hill from the car park and into the party tent. Over the next couple of weeks, Tony becomes involved in two investigations. There was the investigation of what happened at the party but there is a bigger investigation going on. Larry Trent, one of the attendees at the party (who ...more
Jackie
Oct 06, 2011 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the second book I read by Dick Francis, and I quickly became a solid fan of this writer. (Reflex was the first of his I read). His books are entertaining, educational, fun, serious, and have my favorite ingredient: the main character is someone you identify with, you put yourself in their shoes, and you care what happens to them. They are usually an unexceptional, average person, with possibly one skill that sets them apart from the other characters, and with this skill or talent, they ...more
Quercus
Feb 08, 2015 Quercus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Recommended to Quercus by: My mother
Shelves: mystery
I love Dick Francis' novels. He was the Queen Mother's jockey & became a novelist after he retired. His books all have horses in them in some way or another, but each is set in a different industry, which is well researched. This one is set in the wine industry, which I used to work in myself, so of course it is particularly appealing.

The funny thing is, though, as different as he tries to make his heroes, in the end they all turn out to be the same quiet, unassuming, smart, capable guy who
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John
Jan 06, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite of all the Dick Francis books. It contains all of the best elements of his works: first, of corse, a well crafted mystery. Then there is a main character already going through changes in his life who gets caught up in the mystery. Then there is the painstaking research Francis did into an unusual occupation, which is a hallmark of some of his later works. (The first books were all about jockeys or horsetrainers.) I later started at the beginning and read all of his books, bu ...more
Linda
Aug 08, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Beach is a wine merchant with a small shop. He also provides the alcohol/drinks for parties. While at a party he did annually for a horse trainer, there is a horrible accident when a horse trailer careens down the hill from the car park and into the party tent. Over the next couple of weeks, Tony becomes involved in two investigations. There was the investigation of what happened at the party but there is a bigger investigation going on. Larry Trent, one of the attendees at the party (who ...more
Wendy
Mar 30, 2016 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can't help but care about Tony Beach, owner of a wine shop and recent widower. When a tragedy happens at an event he's catering, he gets drawn into a tanker of missing scotch and several wines that taste the same. He meets Gerard, who helps him rescue at the tragedy, who turns out to investigate business/industrial crimes - he's looking for the missing scotch. So Tony & Gerard work together because Tony knows so much about the processing of alcohol and the taste of different forms of the ...more
Deanna Against Censorship
I love Dick Francis' books. (I do love the British mystery done right.) This story not only has some of the horse set but gives an education on the business side of wine. The MC is smart, lonely, quiet and braver than he thinks. Typical Dick Francis hero. Loved the story. Dick Francis could write. Very enjoyable.
Gilbert M.
Mar 28, 2014 Gilbert M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dick Francis always spins an enjoyable yarn. This time he steps mostly outside of the horse racing business to explore the wine and liquor trade in an intriguing mystery surrounding counterfeit alcoholic beverages and missing tanker trucks. The mystery, as always, is first rate, but it is our self-doubting protagonist, Tony, that makes this story great. Tony is the son and grandson of war heroes who disappointed his family by not having the same fire in his veins. He's even disappointed in himse ...more
David Baxter
Jan 25, 2016 David Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Just a (last) quick-read before term starts and all reading for pleasure goes to hell in a proverbial! Again, this is a Francis I very much like; the wounded protagonist, very much the knight-errant, drawn into actions that are heroic inspire of his damaged psyche and lack of faith in himself. Again, this is a peripheral-to-racing setting (the liquor/hospitality industry), as opposed to jockeys and betting, more often the foci of Francis's novels and the motivations for the villains' villainy!
It
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Boots S
Tony Beach, wine merchant, knows his scotch, so to be asked to give his opinion of one particular bottle seems harmless enough. But the bottle contains firewater of a highly explosive nature - and, without intending it, Tony finds himself trapped on a one-way route into danger. From a harmless Sunday morning party at a racing stable and onwards to the edge of death, Tony comes nearer and nearer to a lethal adversary and, unexpectedly, to a fuller knowledge of his own true self. Set in the world ...more
Maddie
Dick Francis’ novel Proof is about whiskey, or instead it’s about someone who’s stealing whiskey transport trucks diluting the alcohol and selling it for something it wasn’t to make a profit. This story featured an intelligent man with the ability to name any drink from a single taste. The main character was the most compelling character that I’ve read about from the author Dick Francis. Before the novel at some point he’s lost his wife to a fatal illness and struggles internally with the findin ...more
Tiina
Oct 16, 2014 Tiina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, Francis has come up with a character who has a relation to horses but who does not work directly in the horse trade. The main character is a wine merchant. He's an ordinary guy, more or less, but he happens to be tangled into investigating a nasty scheme.

Very typically to Francis' characters, the main character is very heroic, smart and able without realizing his own potential. I find this very endearing even though it is a recurring set-up.

I particularly liked the ending of this book.
Nancy
May 28, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
A wonderful murder mystery full of red herrings. The beginning grabs your attention, and (view spoiler). I can never remember how it slots together between readings, but it's not so complex that I can't figure it out while reading it. Includes a very suspenseful chase through the hallways of a deserted racetrack

Profession in Focus: Wine merchant. I love wine (dry reds, to be precise) but I'm not any kind of expert. Reading about all the
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Fiona Thornton
Jul 26, 2013 Fiona Thornton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

So I've never read anything by Dick Francis before. This is despite the fact that both my parents and grandparents seem to own every book he's ever written. They have tried in the past to convince me that there is a good reason why they own so many Dick Francis novels but honestly i just thought it was an old person thing really. You grow up, you drink a lot of wine, you read a lot of Dick Francis. Noone knows why, it just happens.

But honestly I thought the book was absolutely fabulous. A simple
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Carol
Aug 15, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading a good Dick Francis novel. They are pretty clean, the language isn't too bad, and not a lot of sex.... Sometimes I even reread the books, because it's like being with a friend you haven't seen in several years. I really enjoy the characters he uses, and also enjoy the series he wrote about too. Tony Beach is a wine merchant with a small shop. He also provides the alcohol/drinks for parties. While at a party he did annually for a horse trainer, there is a horrible accident ...more
Bruce
Dec 28, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Beach, widower, runs a small wine and liquor store. He supplies the beverages for a horse trainers annual party, during which a trailer crashes into the party tent, killing several people. Through a series of events, he ends up helping try to find someone who has been hijacking tanker trucks with scotch in them and selling fake wine and spirits. Decent book, good plot. Francis manages to always make relatable characters, with believable flaws. Some language, but not much.
John Marsh
Oct 11, 2015 John Marsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie
Aug 13, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have liked all of Mr. Francis' books and this is definitely no exception. Most of them I've listened to, but this one was only available on ebook. Even without the narrator (love those Brit accents) it was a very good read. This one is a bit different since horse racing is only periperal. It concerns something I'm more ignorant about than horse racing: wine and whiskey. It was pretty interesting even to someone who would rather that liquor didn't exist.
Scott Vandrick
He’s a good writer, no doubt, and there’s proof in “Proof”. Plotting, character, conflict, climax – all cleanly presented in a clear and straightforward way. An easy writing gift on display on every page. Would I recommend it as a must-read? No. But an entertaining and well-crafted novel. I do wish that the runaway horse trailer were more connected to the story’s conclusion, but maybe I splitting mares.
Linda
Apr 20, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author was recommended to me and I found a book very quickly. I really did enjoy the book. This author is going on my list to read. Dick Francis has soo many books!!

This book was an easy read but you got great character development!! I know that most of his books deal with the horse racing business and that was a part of this book but it was centered a bit more on the wine and whiskey industry.

A nice mystery!!
Cari
Nov 14, 2012 Cari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first Dick Francis books that I ever read, around age 10, and it has definitely stuck with me over the years. Yeah, 10 is too young to read Dick Francis, especially a book that is as graphically violent and sexual as this one is. I may be a bit warped from the early exposure but I'm fine with that.

Reading about the wine waiter getting killed was just as shocking now as it was 14 years ago when I first read it, kind of made me a little queasy. I enjoy the violence in Dick Fra
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Georgene
Apr 04, 2014 Georgene rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I may have read this once upon a time, but if so I don't remember it. So, given that I think this is an excellent Dick Francis novel, I don't think I've actually read it. I've read many of his books over the years and have usually enjoyed them very much. This book, "Proof", is no exception.
David
Oct 02, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I keep Dick Francis books in my bathroom as they are perfect to read in the bath!

The familiar formula of a modest man who has an equine pedigree and whose self deprecating manner disguises an inner strength works as well as usual. The heroes usually are dispassionately analytical and their "day job" disguises a fierce intellect or knowledge. Here it is no surprise that a youthful widowed oenologist is able to help in an alcohol related conspiracy.

One of the ways that Mr Francis (why was he neve
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Helen-Louise
Feb 23, 2014 Helen-Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I am reading my way through my collection of Dick Francis as I do my daily stint on the elliptical - sufficiently engrossing that I can tolerate the time on the machine. High recommendation, especially since I have probably rad most of them 20 times.
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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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“Mrs Palis­sey and I tend­ed to have the same con­ver­sa­tions over and over and slight­ly too of­ten.
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