Dead Cert: A classic racing mystery from the king of crime
Steeplechaser Alan York knows well the dangers of the sport. But when his best friend and rival Bill Davidson takes a fall in the middle of a race and doesn’t get up again, Alan discovers it was no accident. Someone rigged a tripwire to take down the running...more
Francis was forty-two at the time, a veteran of World War II, and a former steeplechase jockey himself. Virtually all of his novels take place in and around the world of British horseracing. While he repeats the same character only a couple of times, virtually all of his protagonists are the same sort of man--relatively young, intelligent, determined, courageous, and somewhat aloof--at least until ...more
Horse racing can be a dangerous sport, but it becomes a deadly one when a champion is killed.
The film doesn't build the suspense in the same way at all - the book was a corker!
Three jockeys were warned not to win their races, someone wanted good riders turned into also-rans. Bill died when the sure-footed Admiral fell, Joe was scared rotten, and Alan York became the prime target of a vicious gang. But Alan wanted revenge, and to hell with the danger.
I have seen and heard of this author for many years before finally deciding to give him a try. I read and enjoyed Forfeit last month and having picked up a few of his books recently decided to try ...more
But more ...more
If you'll forgive me for not summarizing the plot, as a normal reviewer would - others have done that well enough - I'll tell you what Dick Francis and Dead ...more
Finished: December 3, 2007
This is another re-read by one of my favourite authors. Dick Francis was a highly successful jockey, and he used to ride the Queen Mother's horses. When he retired, he started writing books*, and I think they're brilliant. They all involve horse racing in some way (though some of them very peripherally), and with few exceptions, the protagonist (of which very few are repeated) is forced into the role of amateur detective, usually out of ...more
I decided to begin at the ...more
Alan York is a wealthy man and an amateur jockey. He is riding well in this race but still a close second to his good friend Bill Davidson … until Bill’s horse falls and Alan finishes first. The victory is a hollow one because Bill is so seriously injured he dies in hospital. As Alan thinks over the race he is certain that there was something unnatural about the way Admiral took that jump. So, he goes back to the course to look at the jump where Bill’s horse fell. ...more
Dick Francis is a former steeple-chase jockey, so is writing well within his sphere of knowledge, and that comes across in ...more
But then I came across this book - the first by Dick Francis and I figured I'd give it another try. All of my previous grievances still hold true, but I will admit that he is adept at writing an exciting, suspenseful story. ...more
The mystery is a good one and there are several tense actions scenes both on and off the track, but for me the standout element of the book was Alan York. I would have liked to have ...more
Alan has a good relationship with his father who is extremely wealthy, so Alan doesn’t need to work. He spends his time as a jockey riding steeple chase horses. He lives with his friend Bill and Bill’s wife and children. The book opens with Bill riding the lead horse in a race. A bad guy strings wire over a jumping fence which causes Bill’s horse to fall, killing Bill. Alan ...more
True to form, a likeable fellow is killed off in the first chapter leaving just enough clues for our narrator to track down the culprit with minimal involvement from the police. The mystery in "Dead Cert" was complicated enough to keep me guessing ...more
Dead Cert is his first, and it's pretty good. His later works are better written, but this has lots of horses, intrigue, and action. As always, his hero is unambiguously good, and surprisingly this bad guy is a lot more sympathetic than the later villains. (Let's not kid ourselves, he's still bad, but not as unequivocally evil as the later ...more
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 ...more