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In the Frame (Francis Thriller)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,816 ratings  ·  120 reviews

A classic mystery from Dick Francis, the champion of English storytellers.
Charles Todd, a successful artist who paints horses, arrives at his cousin Donald's house and stumbles on a grisly scene: police cars everywhere, his cousin arrested for murder and Donald's wife brutally slain.
Believing - unlike the police - Donald's story of a burglary gone wrong, Charles follows

Kindle Edition, 324 pages
Published (first published 1976)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,816 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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James Thane
This is a fairly typical Dick Francis novel. In this case, the protagonist is Charles Todd, an artist who specializes in painting horses. He goes to spend a weekend with his cousin and the cousin's wife, only to arrive and find that the cousin's house has been burglarized. The cousin's wife, who apparently surprised the burglars by coming home unexpectedly, has been murdered. The cousin, Donald, is a wine merchant and is currently having some financial difficulties. The police suspect that he ma ...more
 Li'l Owl ~ Incorrigible Reader
A tension filled, dangerous game of cat and mouse by my favorite author, Dick Francis!

"Don?" I said. I walked toward him. "Donald!"
He didn't hear me. A policeman, however, did. He came swiftly from the sitting room in his dark blue uniform, took me by the arm, and swung me strongly and unceremoniously back toward the door.
"Out of here, sir," he said. "If you please."
The strained eyes slid uncertainly our way.
"Charles... " His voice was hoarse.
The policeman's grip loosened very slightly. "Do
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

I stood on the outside of disaster, looking in.

Sometimes you know right from the opening phrase that you're in for a treat and that you will probably abandon all other pursuits around the house until you turn the last page of the latest Dick Francis thriller. As I've already read about two dozen of his books, this isn't really a surprise, and what others may call predictable and repetitive in his characterization and plotting I call reliable, dependable and comfortably familiar.

But Francis doe
The mystery itself is typical Francis fare; so much so, in fact, that I spotted the villain on his first appearance. There's a generous dollop of violence, the villain is a bit deranged, but at least that side isn't drawn out (which I objected to in several other Francis novels). A good bit of research, as always - this time into painting - and I absolutely admire the way the researched facts are handled, not ladled out if large helpings, stopping the plot for a time, but sprinkling them here an ...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
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the most exciting of mysteries, but still decent for what it was.
My favourite Dick Francis mystery, although I think Whip Hand is the best.
David Highton
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So reliable, an intrepid hero, horse racing, crime and all so easy to read
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


When Charles Todd visits his cousin, Donald, he lands unexpectedly right in the middle of a major crisis: a burgled house, Donald's young wife, Regina, brutally murdered, Donald himself prostrated by grief, almost at his wit's end. What's even worse the police inspector instead of looking for a murderer starts accusing Donald of orchestrating the whole burglary to profit financially from it and help his ailing firm. Charles is outraged by their approach but what can be done? Especially
Kit Ehrman
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book changed my life. I discovered it in 1977, quit the government job I was working at the time, and went to work in the horse industry so I could experience the horse world firsthand. I worked with and owned horses for 25 years, all because of this book.
Many of the later Dick Francis novels I bought (I've all but 2 or 3) were read but once, and I had little recollection of this, bought sometime after 1996 (the particular edition n/a on Goodreads) and before visiting Australia and NZ myself.
They not the main reason for enjoyment though - such a joy to read a tale told with clarity; simplicity where intended and omissions where necessary for tension.
Lynn Demsky
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Good read!
Paula Schumm
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook from the library. This murder mystery novel has art, murder, theft, and travel. Charles Todd is an artist of horses, but he travels the world to prove his cousin innocent of murder. Recommended.
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles Todd is a painter, mostly of horses. He goes to visit his cousin only to find that their house has just been burgled and his cousin's wife murdered. Charles stays with his cousin, trying to help him deal with insurance, police, the clean up. But as time passes, it becomes clear that the investigation is stalled and his cousin is falling into a deep depression. Charles decided to take matters into his own hands and follows the clues to Australia.

Like all Dick Francis books, the pace moves
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This Francis book opens with a tragedy, and throughout the book it contains more explorations of emotion than I think most Francis books do. The main character is once again in the "unassuming but successful mostly-loner everyman" mode, but there appears to be more focus on his social interactions (with his cousin, best friend, best friends wife, new friend) than in many other books in the series. This book reads very cinematically, and in fact it was remade into a TV movie in 1989.

As usual, the
Another really great mystery from Dick Francis!
MaryLou Pearce
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any Dick Francis book gets five stars from me.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In the Frame" is another of the slight, slender thrillers Francis was turning out in the 1970s, full of travel and good times. This one has a slightly somber edge, though.

Charles is another of Francis's artist heroes, this time an actual artist, who paints mainly horses and sort of makes a living doing so. He aspires to nothing higher, but when his cousin's wife is murdered and several other people he knows report being burgled, he ends up heading off to Australia to try to track down the culpr
Renata Shura
When I first read this eons ago I loved it so much, but this time around it fell a bit flat. I still loved the aussie slang bit, but so much of the communication of the day (1976) dates the story and actually detracted from the enjoyment of it for me. Also, it's a pretty depressing set of circumstances and as a teen, I don't think I understood the depths of grief like I do now. So rather than seeing it as a great DF romp, it actually depressed me. I was pretty shocked that I'd react that way.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable but not, I think, Francis's best work. I don't mind the fact that his books adhere to a formula, but this one never seemed to develop fully enough to really bring the formula to life. However, I did enjoy the Australian setting and the interactions between Jik and Todd, and I thought that Sarah's character was skillfully drawn. She wasn't a caricature. She progressed through very natural suspicion, reluctance, fear, courage, and affection.
Denise Kettering
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Like other Francis novels, this book revolves around the horse racing world. Charles Todd is a horse painter, who finds himself trying to solve some problems on his cousin's behalf. There is a good degree of suspense in trying to figure out the case and the way that the various characters overlap and interact. The moral and upright main character is compelling and the events are interesting. Overall this is an enjoyable and fast read.
This was a good light hearted mystery novel. I can say I liked it, even though, having just fractured my shoulder this past summer (skateboarding), I physically cringed at the idea of getting out of bed and doing all the things our main character did as soon as he did. No way! The fracture in my shoulder was considered hairline and I was unable to turn my head without excruciating pain for at least two weeks. Ah well, that's fiction for you.
Ryan McArthur
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahh, Dick Francis, my secret indulgence. I like his books, the characters and the locations are always well drawn and the books come to a satisfying conclusion. This one was no different, except I've been to many of the places in the novel, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington and Auckland, so that was a nice change.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Needed a paperback to fit in my purse for a short trip and fell back on this book by Dick Francis, who is one of my favorite authors. When in doubt about what to read, I know I can always fall back on one of his books; that no matter how many times I have read them, they are still always interesting and hold my attention. Like the setting of Australia/New Zealand in this one.
Trudy Pomerantz
This was not a bad read. The major problem was the ability of the main protagonist to recover from what I know from personal experience and observation would be debilitating injuries like a major broken bone.
It’s been a while since I read a Dick Francis - and from memory I have read a few and thought them quite good. His USP is crime set amongst the horse racing fraternity. So in their parlance, this was a bit of an “also ran” that unimpressively limped home.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Excellent. If you're a fan of Francis this is great stuff. And for once, he takes the time to continue the narrative after the baddie is unveiled in order to deal with Charles's brother's ongoing grief.
Christopher Madsen
My first Duck Francis book and I was not disappointed, although horses and horse racing are only peripheral to the plot. Tightly written and fast paced. A good mystery about art theft, forgery, burglary and murder. I'll red more Francis.
Fredell Boston
Although not especially about horse racing, this Dick Francis novel is a good representation of his writing and the mysteries within the lives of his characters.
Read in spurts and starts due to leaving it at a friends home after housesitting.
Intersting plot; good entertainment.
Glad I was not the one trying to find the culprit.
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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