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Under Orders (Sid Halley #4)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,827 Ratings  ·  257 Reviews
"Sadly, death at the races is not uncommon. However, three in a single afternoon was sufficiently unusual to raise more than one eyebrow."

It's the third death on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day that really troubles super-sleuth Sid Halley. Last seen in 1995's Come to Grief, former champion jockey Halley knows the perils of racing all too well-but in his day, jockeys didn't usual
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Putnam Adult (first published September 6th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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A gentle meeting with an old friend. I adore Sid Halley.

Unfortunately, I think one can tell this was written after the death of his wife. So sad.
Dec 27, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 13, 2009 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
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
Jul 27, 2016 Jasmine rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this crime thriller featuring Sid Halley. Usual Francis style; clean writing, engaging characters and all in all, a good meaty read.
Ana Rebelo
Sep 20, 2013 Ana Rebelo rated it really liked it
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
Aug 04, 2012 Harry rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 20, 2012 Lemar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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
Andy Plonka
Mar 06, 2016 Andy Plonka rated it really liked it
I haven't read any of Francis' books for a long time, but decided I needed to reconnect and appreciate the forthright presentation and knowledge of the racing scene. I shall have to find the ones his son has written to continue the racing venue crime novels.
The fourth in the Sid Halley series, although not as powerful as the first three (and written after Dick Francis's wife Mary died). Lord Enstone asks Sid to discreetly look into his suspicions that his horses are on a losing streak; are they being set up to lose? There does seem to be some gossip swirling around his trainer, Bill Burton, and unfortunately once labeled as a dishonest trainer, it's hard to prove the opposite--not to mention the fact that his jockey, Huw Walker, who would be in on ...more
Boots S
Feb 29, 2016 Boots S rated it liked it
Sadly, death at the races is not uncommon. However, three in a single afternoon was sufficiently unusual to raise more than one eyebrow." It's the third death on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day that really troubles super-sleuth Sid Halley. Last seen in 1995's Come to Grief , former champion jockey Halley knows the perils of racing all too well-but in his day, jockeys didn't usually reach the finishing line with three .38 rounds in the chest. But this is precisely how he finds jockey Huw Walker-who, only ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Vickie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listened-to
My dad introduced me to Dick Francis' mysteries many years ago. I loved reading them, the view into the English racing world in all forms. It wasn't only the jockeys and the horses or trainers and owners. There were wine shop owners, house renovators, security consultants, undercover agents, investment bankers. All sorts but with horses and horse racing as center points.
Sid Halley is the only character I know of that Dick Francis used as a sort of series among his mysteries. Sid was a jockey, b
Feb 15, 2014 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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!
Feb 05, 2015 Mom rated it really liked it
Finding a Dick Francis book that I had not read was like finding a precious jewel. This is especially true of a Sid Halley adventure. I was afraid that at some point I would realize, "Oh wait! I read this one." Nope, somehow I missed it. This is not great literature, it is a relaxing visit with an old friend. Once again Sid is in the position of the bad guy trying to intimidate him and his standing up. He marries.... I have read the one where he is already married and has a child, this connects ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
#4 in the Sid Halley series. This is the final solo entry of Dick Francis' solo horse racing related thrillers after a six year hiatus. Four more books would come, co-authored by son Felix - before Francis death.

Sid Halley doesn't believe trainer Bill Burton murdered jockey Huw Walker and committed suicide because Walker was having an affair with his wife. Halley proclaims both men were murdered. Messages to mind his own business are punctuated by attacks on his girlfriend. Relationship with ex-
Aug 13, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
What can I say? I like Sid Halley otherwise this would have been 3 stars
Kathy Davie
Aug 31, 2010 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it
Nice to catch up with Sid Halley of my favorites.
Jul 08, 2014 Kaethe rated it really liked it
now with more sexual equality and less sadism
Susan Beamon
Sep 20, 2015 Susan Beamon rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since I've read a Dick Francis book. I enjoyed them in the past, the race horses, the rules of racing, the mysteries and unnatural deaths that can happen in the racing world. Closer to the cozy style of mystery where relationships are more important than detecting but still in the PI genre of mystery. This book is filled with the things I like. And I get to revisit an old friend, Sid Halley, who manages to get married at the end of the story, injecting a touch of romance in the ...more
Kara Jorges
Dec 19, 2012 Kara Jorges rated it really liked it
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
Dec 11, 2010 Jerry rated it really liked it
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
Aug 17, 2008 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery

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,
Mar 12, 2012 Lucinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 02, 2009 Lisa H. rated it liked it
Shelves: dick-francis, mystery
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
Dec 25, 2010 Valerie rated it liked it
Shelves: dick-francis
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
Jun 11, 2008 le-trombone rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-mystery
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
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
Brenda Margriet
Sad is it is to say, DF's writing did deteriorate towards the end. How could it not - he was in his 80's - and I was and am still thankful that he continued writing to the end. Even one of the weaker DF books is still better than many, many others I've read!

Sid Halley returns for the 4th time, but I'm afraid a happy Sid is just not as intriguing as an angsty Sid, and the conflict that was supposed to make him doubt himself was too easily clarified. The writing is still good, and the plot intric
Jul 31, 2014 George rated it really liked it
#4 in the former jockey now respected private investigator Sid Halley mystery series. Action takes place in Lambourn where many of the racing horses are stabled and trained, in London and at some race tracks. A horse trainer, suspected suicide, and leading jockey, murdered, both friends of Halley gets him involved in finding out what happened as well the possibility of race fixing. He also is working for a Parliament Commission regarding reviewing the starting internet gambling industry.
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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 about Dick Francis...

Other Books in the Series

Sid Halley (5 books)
  • Odds Against (Sid Halley, #1)
  • Whip Hand (Sid Halley, #2)
  • Come to Grief (Sid Halley, #3)
  • Dick Francis's Refusal (Sid Halley, #5)

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