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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,072 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A classic mystery from Dick Francis, the champion of English storytellers. Edward Lincoln has scaled the Himalayas, survived deadly car chases and defeated scores of assassins. As a movie action man he's even suffered stoically at the hands of sadistic directors. After finishing his latest film, he's asked to visit South Africa to discover why a dying friend's horses are s ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 7th 1989 by Michael Joseph (first published 1972)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,710)
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My first Dick Francis novel. I had avoided him for many years because he is always described as "that guy who writes about horse-racing" but that's misleading. In this case at least [disclaimer: I've since read [book:The Edge|8527], in which horses information is more pervasive] the racing provides the initial plot point and some color, but isn't the focus.

A wealthy old woman, recently diagnosed with a fatal illness, wants to find out why her horses are suddenly performing so poorly -- she want
James Thane
Edward Lincoln is a major movie star, usually filling the role of a death-defying action hero. He's on hiatus between films when his godmother asks him to go to South Africa in an effort to discover why her string of race horses is suddenly not living up to its potential. Lincoln cannot refuse the request and so gins up a reason to go, allegedly to promote his new film. In the meantime, he will discreetly look into the problem of the underperforming horses.

One he arrives in South Africa, though,
I don't really read Dick Francis for his cleverly build mysteries: the plot and the identity of the villain is usually given away very early in the narrative. I'm also not really looking for originality. Almost all of his main characters are variations of one archetype: the tall, quiet professional with an iron will and a hidden weakness. His villains are similarly predictable: egomaniac bullies with a penchant for torture.

So why is he my comfort writer for relaxing and having a good time (with
To me reading Dick Francis is like eating comfort food. It's nothing fancy, but I know I'm going to love the experience. Francis' protagonists are "everyman" thrown into unusual circumstances, who always find a way to win. This one was no different. Our hero, Edward Lincoln, sees himself as a regular guy who happens to make a living as a action movie actor. He is content with his low key homelife with his wife and kids in the country.

The story takes us to South Africa where Edward has agreed to
Alexis Neal
Dick Francis delivers again. This time, the setting is exotic South Africa, and the lead is a likable, down-to-earth action film star. The usual Francis tropes make their appearances . . . most notably the protracted battle between man and nature. And of course, there is the male lead with an unusual ability to interpret data to reach reliable conclusions (though I suppose every good mystery needs someone with such an ability). As usual, Francis mixes the familiar (the racing industry) with the ...more
This is a terrific entry in the Dick Francis series. Unlike many of Francis' heroes, Edward Lincoln has few internal conflicts. He is successful, world famous, and happily married, with only a handicapped but beloved child to cloud his horizons. Nonetheless, the trial he lives through at the book's climax will make you happy you're not him!

Parts of the book seem to dawdle too much over irrelevant "color" -- descriptions of a gold mine, press interviews, discussion of apartheid, and so on. But i
Nov 29, 2013 Charly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Francis has a way of keeping all of his suspects in play until his hero character has solved the crime and then they go about and catch the criminal. this while set around horses as is mostly the case with him, involves a convoluted scheme regarding inheritance. Greed, murder, and a somewhat weird character or two.

Quick read.
An entertaining adventure featuring a movie star who agrees to travel to South Africa to investigate a friend's string of horses which, for some reason, have not been running up to expectations. Listened to the audio which was narrated by Geoffrey Howard.
Sara Diane
Another charming and fantastic mystery by Mr. Francis. Since I've been to this part of Africa, and because I've done some acting and directing, I enjoyed this one a little more than most. Also, the main character was married (unusual for a Francis mystery) and had kids (three, with the youngest daughter being special needs, which of course made me love the MC even more). I enjoyed the slightly different MC, and the story was just typical Francis--lots of action, lots of questions, and a well-wov ...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

An enjoyable, and quick read, full of violence and suspense.

This had his usual intelligent, modest, tenacious, athletic well-mannered hero, this time a successful actor rather than a jockey. Like all of his mysteries, horse racing is involved, though here there is more action in a gold mine and the South African veldt than at the racetrack. It's interesting that in this book, unlike most of the other books by Dick Francis I've read, he's happily married, with children.

The part where he was trapp
Sep 30, 2008 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a good character-driven mystery
Having just returned from a vacation in South Africa during which I safari'd in the Kruger National Park, I could hardly wait to re-read this book, one of my favourites by one of my favourite authors. The conclusion (accurately described by the Sunday Times as "vivid and sinister") unfolds in the Kruger, and in reading the familiar names (Skukuza, Satara) and the description of the landscape at the end of the dry season - the same season in which I saw it - I felt a little like Mr. Francis and I ...more
Susan Smith
I'd read this book at least once before, as a teenager, and I LOVED it back then. It was cool to see that I still thought it really well done now. The descriptions and dialogue are my favorite things, I think. The narrator's voice is so dry and observant. The plot is good, too, and it's fun to read about the exotic setting of South Africa. I also enjoyed the symmetry in the plot.

I love Dick Francis, and I've read and enjoyed many of his books, but this is one of the most memorable, and the one w
Smokescreen is an international thriller that pits a dashing film star, Edward Lincoln, against some real life villains.
Upon the completion of his latest film, Lincoln is asked to visit Johannesburg to discover why a friend's horses are suddenly doing badly on the race track. His attempt to help his friend puts Lincoln in harm's way from the moment he steps foot in Johannesburg. He quickly becomes the target of someone who wants to put a stop to his informal investigation. First there is a ne
Not my favourite Dick Francis novel, but a good read all the same.

The book seemed to go on for a long time before the story really got started. First person narrator, actor Edward Link, has just finished acting in a film called "Man in a Car" and, as he is between projects, he agrees to travel out to South Africa to find out who is nobbling his friend's horses to prevent them from living up to their potential. Despite an "accident" that to the reader is pretty obviously an attempt on his life,
The title seems to have been chosen randomly. This was an odd one to read. It's as well-written and impeccably researched as all Francis books, though somewhat more abrupt than the best of them. The protagonist is a sort of Bond-ish movie star on a jaunt to South Africa. There's a surprising amount of politics, as he observes apartheid from the perspective of an outsider. His descriptions of the Kruger are pretty accurate.
Edward Lincoln is a British actor who stars in action films. While home between movies, he goes to visit Nerissa "a cross between aunt, godmother, and guardian, none of which I'd actually had." Nerissa is dying from Hodgekin's and persuades Link, as he's known, to travel to Johannesburg to try to investigate why her horses are showing so poorly at the races. Link agrees and goes, under the guise of attending one of his movie premiers. He spends some time around the stables and then attends some ...more
Movie star Edward is asked by his dying godmother to figure out why her horses in South Africa are doing so poorly. He plans a covert trip using one of his movie premiers as cover. While he is investigating and doing movie promos, he finds his life in danger. Not bad. Decent plot. No language.
I've read three Dick Francis books before this one and enjoyed all of them. I listened to this one on audio and had to go through it twice because I didn't notice what was happening the first time. I suppose you could say that there wasn't anything in the story that caught my interest. The story is about a dull movie star who goes to South Africa to do some promotion. There is an inheritance involved, and a will, of course. Tired mystery clichés. I'm afraid that making the main character a movie ...more
Mike Jensen
What a disappointment. With Francis reputation as a great mystery/thriller writer, I expected a lot more than this tepid and stylistically uninteresting book padded to novel length by unnecessary scenes. It was entertaining enough to finish, but I can't say much more for it.
Really really good! Again, I'd forgotten enough of the plot in ten years since the latest read so I could enjoy this one anew.

The main character was not a superhero but very good at surviving!
Edward Lincoln, a famous actor, is asked to travel to South Africa to investigate a dying neighbour's racehorses - they are not winning, but their pedigree says that they should be. The hero shuns publicity, but agrees to attend a press conference (where he comes close to being electrocuted) and also agrees to attend a movie premiere. He meets a man who owns a gold mine, and while touring the mine, is again almost murdered. While visiting a safari park, he is kidnapped, drugged and left to die. ...more
Janet Ellner
I read Dick Francis for light, pleasant, put-me-to-sleep diversion. This had his usual intelligent, modest, tenacious, athletic well-mannered hero, this time a successful actor rather than a jockey. Like all of his mysteries, horse racing is involved, though here there is more action in a gold mine and the South African veldt than at the racetrack. There is a rather strange scene that involves a discussion justifying apartheid (the book was published in 1972), the only time I can remember anythi ...more
Tim Flanagan
Good book, but a bit disappointing at the end. There were still some unanswered questions and the main character needed more conclusion with the situation he ends up in.
Joan Schrock
A Dick Francis Horse related mystery. Easy read
Probably one of my favourite Dick Francis books of all time, and to be sure the one I think of first when I think of Dick Francis.

I think due to my preoccupation with surviving in the wilderness a lá Robinson Crusoe, I always enjoyed the scene of him being stuck in the car at the climax of the book.

I also think it's interesting that in this book, unlike most of the other books by Dick Francis I've read, he's happily married, with children.

An enjoyable, and quick read, full of violence and sus
This was the first Dick Francis book I read and I was hooked. All the books have something to do with the world of horse racing since the author was formerly a jockey. They always involve great bodily harm to the "hero". Some are better than others and occasionally the subject matter is adult. I can't rate them individually since I read most of them many years ago but my overall rating of his writing is 4 stars. He is getting quite old and has started to co-author with his son. I find the qualit ...more
Kat Chan
It's amazing what a role the setting plays in Francis' novels. As soon as the character goes back to England, I enjoy it again, but I'm not much a fan of the African setting. As the majority of the book takes place in Africa, this is not my favorite. I also find it annoying when both the reader and the protagonist know who the bad guy is half way through, they just don't know why. I prefer to hold off on the reveal until the very end.
Edward Lincoln is a famous film star who is asked by an old friend with a terminal illness to investigate why her race horses in South Africa are suddenly underperforming. Sucked into danger while visiting a gold mine fact meets film plot lines while on safari. A good written book by Mr Francis (as usual) skipped along quite merrily, I read a version with the ISBN 9780718179090 which isn't listed of GR.
I reread all of the Dick Francis books during the summer, just now finishing this one, the last on my list. I am not going to find them all and add them though! A great way to pass the time...and it still makes me want to go the races in England, just like I wanted to reading them for the first time when I was a teenager.
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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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