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Risk: A classic racing mystery from the king of crime

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,933 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Dick Francis, the bestselling master of mystery and suspense, takes you into the thrilling world of horse racing. When he wakes in a pitch black room with his hands bound, Roland Britten, accountant and champion steeplechase jockey, knows he’s entered a nightmare of someone else’s making. Wracking his brain to figure out who is out to get him and why, he comes up empty, b ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2019 by Canelo USA (first published 1977)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,933 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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James Thane
This is another fairly typical Dick Francis novel. The protagonist, Roland Britten, is an accountant by trade and an amateur jockey who loves to race. Like most Francis lead characters, Britten is single, a man who lives within himself and who few people know really well. He shares the courage and steel will of his fellow Francis protagonists--a man who will not be bullied or bribed and who will withstand almost any amount of pain or suffering rather than surrendering to the will of his adversar ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Risk is one of the better titles in the Dick Francis catalogue, one that I recommend to readers as yet unfamiliar with his opus as a showcase of his abilities as a storyteller. As usual, it is told in first person by a likable character that looses no time in getting under the reader's skin and gaining his sympathy. How's this for an opening line:

Thursday, March 17, I spent the morning in anxiety, the afternoon in extasy and the evening unconscious.

Read on to find out how the fortunes of Rolan
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
Jacqueline J
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
One of my favorites. This was a reread. Or a re listen. When you can't find a good book to listen to on your commute, you can always listen to Dick Francis even if you've read the book before. They nearly always stand up to a re read or listen.
3.5 stars rounded down.

I remembered almost nothing about this book and my copy is from the 1980s/1990s, so that's probably the last time I read it. Roland Brittain is an amateur steeplechase rider and professional accountant who wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup by sheer good luck and is then kidnapped and held on a large private boat for days. When he finally frees himself, he sets out to find the perpetrators and gets himself into more trouble (punctuated by a bit of racing).

The novel is competent
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find this as compelling as other Francis stories I've read. In others, Francis combines some aspect of horseracing with a couple of other things, like computer viruses and glass blowing in one. I think I've always been able to pick out two areas where Francis did some research and wove some details about the non-horse racing topics into the story. This one was about an auditor/accountant, and while I caught a sliver of an interesting tidbit about accounting, I didn't get anything else. ...more
Francis, Dick - 16th book

This thriller involves the kidnapping aboard a ship of an amateur jockey and accountant Roland Britten. Schoolmistress Miss Hilary Roland helps him out, asking an unusual favor in return.

Wonderful book but I'm grateful I don't get seasick. Loved Hilary.

Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Why I love Dick Francis books...all of them.
Learn about some profession, lovely men as heroes, who can take a lickin' and keep on tickin', plot twists galore, genuine good guys among some real villains, who get what they deserve in the end.

Sadly, I have now read all of them.
Lynn Demsky
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Good quick, interesting read!
Patrice Hundstad
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse-mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robyn Cain
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful Dick Francis mystery. I listened to it on Audible while I was packing up to move and it was hard to push stop when I had too.
Michael David
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Endurance is like tax. You're silly to pay more than you have to, but you can't always escape it.'

I recall, back when I was younger, that Dick Francis was featured often in Reader's Digest selections. I think my uncle also has a copy of his novel. Since I never had the passion for the sport of kings, I simply ignored him and read more classics.

I admit, I hadn't read him until two days ago. But now I'm not surprised why a lot of people like reading him. His prose flows: it's simple, with little
Kara Jorges
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most Dick Francis novels begin with a strange happenstance stumbled onto by an intrepid hero who soon finds himself beat up and bound, fighting to survive, before he solves the crime and gets away with the girl. This one began with a hero who wakes to find himself locked up, without knowing why. The hero, Roland Britten, is an accountant who rides racehorses as an amateur. During his incarceration, he goes over his entire life trying to figure out who locked him up. He finds he’s been put in a s ...more
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Racing related thrillers - Roland Britten, accountant and amateur jockey, awakens one morning to find he can't move his hands because he is tied up with netting, held captive where no light penetrates and no amount of yelling will get any attention. But why? He knew that this was the latest in a series of events that had begun when he decided to ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race second only to the Grand National in the lives of British steeplechase riders. As an amateur jockey, Roland had ...more
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the first Dick Francis books I ever read as a kid (the absolute first was Dead Cert), and still one of my favorites. The hero (of sorts) is an accountant to those involved in the racing world, and a bit of an amateur jockey himself. Toss in a dash of romance, an inexplicable kidnapping, and the challenges of coping with long term confinement in a small space (this would be a substitute for the usual man v. nature portion of Francis' novels), and you have yourself a decent little mystery. ...more
Roland Britten is an accountant and part-time steeplechase jockey. The day he rides Tapestry, the horse wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Roland is kidnapped at the races and wakes up in the sail hold of a sail boat at sea. He's kept in the dark for about 10 days, and manages to escape. When he arrives home, the police don't seem concerned as he's not been hurt. Three days later, he's kidnapped again, this time kept in a dark van in a deserted garage. He is released by the police after another three ...more
Jennifer Griffith
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend Louise always tells me she loves Dick Francis novels, so I finally checked one out. A great read! Well woven plot. Very likable characters, and I loved the setting. Who knew an accountant who doubles as a jockey could be so interesting?

My one complaint was the three longish stretches where the Roland was held captive. The description, while intense, started to make me wish we'd wrap it up soon and get him out of there so something else would happen. Other than that, a real goodread!

Gregory Drake
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Dick & Felix Francis fans
Read 1st time back in 2001 according to my notes. Taut drama dripping tension in many places, with a bit of surprise ending. Perhaps others will catch some clues that I missed, even at this 2nd reading (over 12 years later), that I missed pointing to the ultimate head criminal behind the kidnappings. Loved the way Mr. Francis wove the couple women into the story, and the way that he had them all interacting with one another.
Boots S
"Few match Francis for dangerous flights of fancy and pure, inventive menace." BOSTON HERALD Roland Britten, accountant and champion steeplechase jockey, wakes in darkness with his hands tied. He has no idea where he is or what is happening, and still he manages an escape -- until he is recaptured, and the deadly cat and mouse game proceeds..
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Had a vague memory that I didn't care for Dick Francis but I picked this up in audiocassette from th elibrary's withdrawn pile and it was quite good. An enjoyable cozy about an abducted accountant/amatuer jockey, with just enough racing to be inteestig but not overwhelm the story. Who knew? It was also very well narrated.
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid, quick read, and an interesting (if sometimes silly) plot. The only downside is that Francis can't seem to decide if his bad guys are bad or not. They'll kidnap, abuse, cheat, steal, lie, defraud, etc, but when a single murder would have let them get away with things completely, they back off...
Still, an entertaining book.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roland Britten is kidnapped but he has no idea why. Kept hostage in a tiny room on a boat. He tries to unravel who kidnapped him and why. It wasn't bad. The solitary time, while he was kidnapped sort of dragged on. I get why it was there, but it carried on a little too much. Probably 3 1/2 stars. No language.
Sarah Adamson
This Dick Francis is a little further from the racecourse. It follows an accountant who wakes up on a boat, having been kidnapped for no apparent reason. Through various adventures and misadventures, this mild mannered individual finds he must face friends and enemies in his hunt to find the truth about the financial world he lives in.
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roland Britton is an accountant and part-time jockey. After winning a race he is kidnapped. When Roland escapes and resumes his audits, he is kidnapped a second time. He has to find out who is responsible to protect himself.
Auntie H
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, sport
Quick easy read. Liked Hilary Margaret Pinlock, perhaps for the name as much as anything. Not a huge DF fan - horse racing and its world of little interest. Nonetheless this held my interest for a couple of hours and I am a sucker for denouements too.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always really like a Dick Francis novel, even though when I first learned of him through the cozy mystery group, my thoughts were "Horse racing? Yuck." But they turned out to be so much more. I have read about 7 or so now. Most rate a least a 4 with me and this was no exception.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do love Dick Francis. Easy to ead with lots of detail that doesn't bore, rather colours the story to make it believable and rivetting.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Usual good Dick Francis quality, with a cool twist on how it starts. A little frustrated with the conclusion but not painfully so.
Not the best Francis novel, but even mediocre Francis is better than most authors can achieve.
Renata Shura
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only Dick Francis can make an accountant's work exciting and weave a fascinationg story around it. Classic Francis!
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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