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4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  4,527 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Longtime jockey Philip Nore suspects that a racetrack photographer's fatal accident was really murder--and unravels some nasty secrets of corruption, blackmail, and murder.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published October 7th 1980)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Read it and find out. Most libraries have Francis novels, if you don't want to buy it.

Community Reviews

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Sep 14, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Warning!!! Fanboy rating !


I’ve been reading and re-reading the novels of Dick Francis since the early 1990’s and I’m hardly objective when it comes to judging their worth. I am aware that many critics consider him a ‘one trick pony’ who somehow stumbled over a succesful formula for writing murder mysteries set in and around the racing world, and then applied ‘rinse and repeat’ for about forty more novels written in the same manner, with the same type of characters and the same type of plot. Yet
Dec 23, 2011 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've said it before and here I am saying it again: nobody writes candy mysteries like Francis. His protagonists are likable, the villains appropriately dislikable, and you always learn something. The formula is simple and consistently adhered to, but the books are not the worse for it. This is a fine example of the form.

The formula is pretty simple. The genial and easygoing 30ish hero stumbles onto dark conspiracies in the racing world. He's beaten up, but bravely faces down the villains. He nar
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
What I like best about Francis' early work is that quite aside from the mystery angle, they are stories. Good stories, well told, well plotted, with decent use of the language. They don't depend too heavily on someone explaining the whole deal; while we follow the main character's thought processes, we also follow him as he goes through the labyrinth that reveals the plot. We are shown, not told. Hallelujah. Also, the characters both good and bad are people--with foibles, weaknesses and strong p ...more
An Odd1
Mar 20, 2012 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action, mystery
"Reflex" by Dick Francis is a camera lens term, so add that to the standard jockey hero, whose natural passivity is activated by honest integrity, and asserts justice without officialdom. Narrator Philip Nore 30, was abandoned "just till Saturday" by his mother Caroline, dead from heroin addiction, to be raised by a series of friends. Samantha he tracks down. Charlie taught him photography and willed his equipment.

Helping injured rider Steve Millace with his crashed dead dad George's negatives
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
Jane Jago
Aug 20, 2016 Jane Jago rated it really liked it
Tight writing and a not too predictable plot make this a hugely enjoyable read.
Mar 23, 2008 Curtiss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
One of my favorite Dick Francis stories.

There are two scenes that I particularly enjoyed: the first was when
Phillip Nore makes a gift of a candid photo of fellow amateur photographer George Millace to George's widow, and finds himself overwhelmed by her emotional reaction of joyful gratitude; the second is when he discovers the "Price" George had demanded from his blackmail victims.

Phillip then decides to demand the same price from George's killer.
Feb 18, 2017 Herb rated it really liked it
The reviewer Jim Barlow of the Houston Times once wrote that Dick Francis "writes believable fairy tales for adults—ones in which the actors are better than we are but are believable enough to make us wonder if indeed we could not one day manage to emulate them."

I've been a fan of Dick Francis for many years, and so when I was having a tough day, I sat down with Reflex and remembered why I liked his work so much. He's so post-War British. You fall off a horse, you get back on the next one. You
Randee Baty
Sep 29, 2013 Randee Baty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mystery
Life has changed for me enough lately that I can now participate in the book discussion groups at my public library. The book for October is Reflex by Dick Francis and I'm thrilled that it spurred me to a reread of this great mystery.

When I began reading mysteries (about 5th grade) I was fortunate that the first three authors I read were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Dick Francis. These remain the standards by which all other mysteries I read are judged. Tough acts to follow!

In Ref
Mar 21, 2012 Martina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystery/thriller lovers
Shelves: thriller, crime
To my shame, I admit that I have heard of Dick Francis only recently. For such an acclaimed author, he is sadly untranslated in the world. However, having finally heard of him and his great writing opus, I became intrigued. Even though the world of horses, races and jockeys has never actually appealed to me, the glowing reviews of his novels induced me to give his work a try. Needless to say, I was impressed, and felt it was my duty to write a review and atone for having neglected Mr. Francis' w ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Jan rated it really liked it
Reflex by Dick Fancis, what can I say, another great book by Dick. Miss you Dick. I am sure I read this years ago, but well worth a second read.

Jockey, Philip Nore has never known who his father was, and was dumped on different people all his life. He never attended school, and was taught by the different folks he was dumped on. His mother, was a butterfly on drugs, and he believed that she must have died sometimes in his teenage years. Left with Charlie and his partner, Philip had learned all a
Arlis Groves
Dec 04, 2014 Arlis Groves rated it really liked it
Many years ago, I read Reflex, and that started my addiction to Dick Francis mysteries. This book, in particular, spoke to me. As a photographer and a horse lover, I ate up the details about the science of processing film and prints, and having an eye for recording life around a race track. My recent second read did not disappoint. Francis weaves an interesting tale about Phillip Nor, a hurdles jockey who navigates through a maze of mysteries including what happened to a sister he hadn't known h ...more
May 25, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
I always enjoy reading a good Dick Francis novel. Phillip Nore in this one is a really good character. 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 writes about too. I'm not a gambler, but I really enjoy watching them live, as well as on screen. There is a certain excitement that I don't find ...more
Jul 22, 2016 Lynn rated it liked it
Dick Francis explores the world of film photography, something that will be totally foreign to today's digital photography generation. As with most Dick Francis novels, the hero is a plucky jockey who can, and does, take a beating and survives to get the upper hand against the villains. The interesting twist is the photographic puzzles he must solve in order to catch the murderer.
Rebecca McNutt
Really nostalgic, captivating and eerie mystery novel, with everything a mystery novel should have and then some. The characters are not only complex but also memorable and original. The writing style is creative and the traditional film photography medium gives the book an extra original edge.
Sep 27, 2014 Tiina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was ten years since I last read this book, and it was like meeting a loved friend after a long time. I felt completely comfortable and safe. It's great to read a suspense novel which has nothing gory or disturbing in it.
James Adams
Feb 12, 2016 James Adams rated it it was amazing
First off, much credit to my mom, she's been trying to get me to read Francis forever. No, seriously, for about 20 years. We are both ridiculously stubborn and, of course, she was right the whole time. Well played, mother.
As with all of his books, Reflex revolves around the British horseracing scene, but, luckily for me, you neither have to know nor care about any of that to be absorbed. There are three plotlines here, one about our main characters fading career as a jockey, one about his myster
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Billie Johnson
Nov 24, 2015 Billie Johnson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oak-tree-press
Dick Francis novels are reliably entertaining, plus you always learn something, since Francis constructs his protagonists so that they either possesses or develop special skills and knowledge as they move through the action to solve the mystery's problem. In REFLEX, we get not only a refresher course in steeplechase riding, but a lesson in photography and the processing of films. In REFLEX, Phillip Nore is both jockey and an amateur photographer on the road to becoming a professional.

Nore's inte
Mar 06, 2014 ck rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dick Francis & logic-puzzle fans; photographers
Shelves: favorites, fiction
I've been reading -- and appreciating -- the work of Dick Francis since high school. I read this story for the first time in college, when I was still shooting black and white and my default perfume was "eau de fixer." I loved puzzling out the mysteries then, and still enjoy revisiting this book every so often, even though I'm familiar with the story line. I do so in part because of the personal connection I suppose most anyone who worked with and loved making photographs back in the days of man ...more
Not a bad story. What I have come to expect from Dick Francis. Only one comment.
I used to process Diazo film at work (yes I guessed immediately the film was Diazo) using ammonia, with the diazo film hanging in a sealed bell jar, but the images never appeared as quickly as the image did in the book. Also, there's NO WAY I would wave the ammonia around and stay in the same room, as happened in this story.
I would hang the film, lower the bell jar, take a deep breath and hold it, take the lid off th
Lori Schiele
Jul 26, 2016 Lori Schiele rated it it was ok
Philip Nure, a steeplejumper jockey by trade (and a photographer hobbyist) accidentally becomes drawn into a world of corruption, drugs, adultery and murder after discovering secrets and clues hidden with strangely processed negatives and film left by his best friend's father--a well-known photographer whose death may or may not have been an accident.
What is Phillip willing to do to set things right? To protect his friends, to stop the bad guy and to rescue his estranged teenager sister from a
Husky Harlequin
Jun 06, 2015 Husky Harlequin rated it it was amazing
I've been reading some of my old man's favorites lately. He celebrates Dick Francis' entire catalog. Now that I've read Reflex, I can understand Dad's obsession and in turn, something about my father.

The book was surprising. A mystery novel, but not a detective or private eye story, which was welcomed. I understand that DF loves his main characters to be "common men" with good morals, and I am fine with that. Good character development right up until the end. Love the incorporation of the photo
Nov 14, 2012 Cari rated it liked it
Probably one of my least favourite Dick Francis novels. Philip Nore is a bit put upon and a bit whiny in comparison with most of his other protagonists. Though he does have reason for the attitude, it still grates on my nerves reading his book.

The romance especially grates on my nerves, his attitude that getting into a relationship might fix his personal relationship problems really bothers me. I am also not overly fond of the case for this book, but that is also just a preference thing, more t
Louise Armstrong
Aug 20, 2011 Louise Armstrong rated it really liked it
This is 1969 - and not one of his best, I think, although I like the idea of the younger man taking on the older man's role and mantle. The love story didn't quite ring true somehow.

It's hard to get across the notion that a first person narrator is a wonderful hero (you'd go right off someone who thought: 'I'm such a great person.) but DF gets around it by having other people tell the hero how marvellous he is - how tough, how clever, how attractive.

Works better than that immortal line found so
Varsha Seshan
Jan 22, 2013 Varsha Seshan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Francis taught me what the word 'steeplechase' meant. Until I read him, it was just another word associated with racing.
The stoicism of the jockeys, which Francis says is part of their philosophy to allow them to keep at it, is something I admire so much that I think that it's something I've learnt from his books.
This one, with its detailed research, taught me some more. It's rare for me to like a book because it teaches you something, but this one made me feel that familiar strength agai
Another winner by Dick Francis. This time Philip, our everyman hero, is an amateur jockey and amateur photographer. I'm giving the edge to his photography, because hey, you can't be a jockey forever. That job has a shelf life.

We've got revenge, blackmail, murder, romance, and horses, all things you expect from Francis. But he also wrote family complexities very well. This one has the added drama of a drug-addled mother who abandoned Philip and flitted from place to place. He's estranged from his
Jeff Crosby
For my sins, this is another book I'm currently re-reading. It is also Kindle and seems to have better formatting than some of the others. This was the first Francis novel I ever read--30 years ago. It's been fun to read because it's like visiting an old friend. I remember the story well enough to recognize elements as they unfold, but not enough to spoil the story. Back then I liked it enough to read another. Now I recognize it as typical Francis. It stands up well, and remains one of my favori ...more
1 Jan 1985
1 Jan 1998
19 Feb 1998
2 Sep 2016

I have two reasons for rereading this book: watching Nore trying to retrace his childhood, and watching him change as an adult. And also this book has the memorable scene of Nore sitting on the stairs in pain, waiting for it to pass. Gripping, and also surprisingly funny, which one probably wouldn't expect. The only reason not to read it is because you'll be stuck listening to the chorus of a Duran Duran song in your head on repeat.

Personal copy
May 10, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. Loved this one. Philip Nore is a jockey / photographer, so in addition to the usual horse language, there's a lot of photographic chemical discussion. I didn't really understand the color theory regarding light versus paint or photo development, but I enjoyed reading through it. Sometimes in murder mysteries the people just keep dropping like flies, and that didn't happen in this one, which I appreciated. The mysteries were really cool photographic puzzles.
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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...

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“Most people think, when they're young, that they're going to the top of their chosen world, and that the climb up is only a formality. Without that faith, I suppose, they might never start. Somewhere on the way they lift their eyes to the summit and know they aren't going to reach it; and happiness then is looking down and enjoying the view they've got, not envying the one they haven't.” 54 likes
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