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Forfeit: A classic racing mystery from the king of crime

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,766 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Dick Francis, the bestselling master of mystery and suspense, takes you into the thrilling world of horse racing.

When reporter Bert Chekov falls to his death, his colleague James Tyrone is suspicious. Chekov’s column had recently recommended some ‘can’t-lose’ horses, who then wound up out of the running on race day.

Tyrone thinks he can prove it was murder, but he may no

Kindle Edition
Published September 2nd 2019 by Canelo USA (first published 1969)
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3.92  · 
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 ·  2,766 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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James Thane
James Tyrone is a sports writer for a tabloid paper called The Blaze. It's not the most respectable paper in town, but it pays better than its more prestigious counterparts and Tyrone badly needs the money.

Tyrone's principal beat is horseracing and one day after lunch he walks a fellow scribe back to his office. The other reporter, Burt Chekov, writes for a competitor, but he and Tyrone have been friends. Chekov has been drinking heavily of late and seems to be deeply troubled. He's also been t
Barbara Heckendorn
Also this Dick Francis was exciting, even if more ran next to the racecourse than on the racecourse. This time investigates a journalist unrealities in the horse betting. On a large scale, bets on horses are placed in advance, but shortly before the start these horses are deducted from the race. The bets always go to the same person, since the regulations do not provide for a return of the wagers made. Who is behind these mafia bets and how can this person be caught? With what means of pressure ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, f
Bert Checkov was a Fleet Street racing correspondent with an unnerving talent for tipping non-starters for big races. But the advice he gave James Tyrone, a few minutes before he fell to his death, was of a completely different nature... Not one for the quiet life, Tyrone has a bloodhound's nose for trouble and pretty soon he's caught up in an increasingly dangerous game. One that threatens him, his crippled wife and the credibility of the racing world. Blowing the roof off is
edwina procter
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a long term Dick Francis reader I would like to say what a refreshing departure this book was. I've been used to the hardy resistance displayed by his heroes, but only in a singular, insular way. Here we have a singularly tortured individual, tied, by love, to his crippled wife, tormented by more than the nasty criminals who are trying to bludgeon their way to success. A thoroughly engaging read which firmly involves the reader with sympathy driving the hero on to success, not in any way dete ...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
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't read "Forfeit" in, oh, twenty years or something, until I recently picked it up and reread it. As always, rereading is as enlightening as reading.

"Forfeit" is one of Francis's slighter works in many ways, but it gets added depth by the interactions between Ty (the hero) and his wife Elizabeth, who has been paralyzed by polio. Rather than exciting scenes of horseback riding (Ty doesn't ride once, and only occasionally goes to the races), the tension in the story is largely generated by T
James Adams
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Francis novel I've read, and it showed that my enjoyment of Reflex was no fluke. This is a strong suspense novel which, while set in and dependent upon the milieu of horse-racing, does not require much in the way of previous knowledge. I have no real affinity for horses, in any capacity (though I do occasionally exclaim "And I want a pony," but that's beside the point), and I was only occasionally left out by this.
As with many British mystery/suspense novels of the time (publi
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
classic Francis - an investigative journalist tries to take down a group of crooks at the racetrack. The usual confrontation where stubborness and brains overcomes brutality and greed. A very touching love story elevates this volume slightly above other books by the author.
Dana Stabenow
I wish Francis had written more books featuring James Tyrone.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great Dick Francis book featuring the horse racing world. This time the main character is a sports news reporter known for his sensational inside stories about owners, trainers and bookies. Even though the setting is in the horse racing world, Francis finds a way to make each of the books fresh and exciting.

The writer has been asked to do a piece for the magazine Tally, and as his salary at the newspaper is barely enough to keep him and his severely handicapped wife, he is given permiss
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A goodish little thriller ruined by Richard Brown's dreadful, mechanical reading. A cut-glass British accent is all very well, but when every sentence, whether it be narration, threats, words of love or desperation has the same inflection and lack of emotion, it quickly palls. With a better reader I might have given this book four stars. I mention the bad reader as a warning to others. I see that Mr Brown has videos on Youtube demonstrating "how to read aloud." If this sample of his technique is ...more
Sportswriter James Tyrone writes about horse racing. But something odd is happening with fellow race writer Bert Checkov – whenever Bert touts a horse, the horse loses badly or fails to show up for the race. Bert drunkenly confesses to Ty that he has sold his soul; and then falls to his death out of a seventh story window.

Ty discovers there is a rigged betting scheme and the bad guys expect Ty to be the next one to fall in line. Not only does he resist, but he must protect his paralyzed wife fr
Tommy Baker
The beginning gives you the feeling you've stumbled onto an episode of Murder, She Wrote about 10 minutes after the start. Or considering all the car chases and crashes maybe The Rockford Files. The scenes revolving around the publication of Blaze and James Tyler's interactions with his co-workers were awfully dull and made me feel as if I were trapped like an invalid attached to a breathing machine.
Speaking of which, I thought everything having to do with Elizabeth and her predicament and how s
Arthur Pierce
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The seventh Dick Francis novel, this one has, perhaps, less to do with horses directly than the others, despite the crooked gambling scheme that is the basis for the plot. Like the first six Francis books, it starts out quietly enough, then gradually builds to the point of almost unbearable intensity.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially it was slow going and did not present very likeable characters, however once the racing angle and featured horse were prominent in the story, it became, like all Mr Francis' books, hard to put down. Not as complex as some of his others, yet the protagonist becomes more likeable as it goes on and exhibits unusual resolve and presence of mind.
Sara Diane
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, own, 2019
I love all Francis books, but this one a little less than most. Not quite sure why. It was a good story, with some moral dilemma and lots of intrigue. The main character was in lots of danger, but showed spunk and wit. And it wrapped up nicely in the end. Not a bad read, but just not a favorite.
David Howard
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and moving. All the thrills of anteposte betting - and the nonstarter market racket —on the track— while the organized crime bosses continue to get more desperate to cause favored horses to forfeit. This interesting UK track rule makes for a good crime thriller.
Tom Kammerer
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edgars
What a pleasure to read a suspense mystery and guns don’t play a part or role!
An early Francis book which I found only last year.Kept me engrossed,among his best.
Keith Barraclough
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Dick Francis good story good plot.
Garnet Walters
As a snapshot of what life was like in the 60s it was a fascinating read, really enjoyed all the little details. Some of the attitudes were shockingly out of date when looked at with a 21stC perspective. The crime/mystery aspect weren't as interesting but it was still a good read. I like his style of writing too, quite staccato.
They say third time is the charm, but in Dick Francis's case it was fourth time. He had been nominated for the Edgar for Best Novel in each of the three preceding years before finally winning it with FORFEIT in 1970. Getting the last laugh, he went on to win it twice more and became a Grand Master in 1996.

This was the first of his books I have read. I tend to go for series books, am not immediately attracted to thrillers, and follow horseracing only if invited to a Derby Day party, so I hadn't t
Good storyline overall, but it dragged a bit in execution.
This was my 7th Dick Francis novel. Took a long time to complete it. The reason for the delay was a mixture of book related issues and a suddenly developed interest in movie watching.
The book deals with horse racing and placing bets thereof. When a race reporter Bert Checkov commits suicide, his friend and the protagonist of the novel, James Tyrone, while working on an article on non-starters and ante-post betting related to such non-starters, stumbles onto a scam related to such betting. This,
John Marsh
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gypsy Lady
Written in 1969. How is our hero going to resolve his dilemma?

Dick Francis "writes about the basic building blocks of life -- obligation, honor, love, courage, and pleasure. Those discussions come disguised in adventure novels so gripping that they cry out to be read in one gulp -- then quickly reread to savor the details skipped in the first gallop though the pages." Houston Chronicle

Page 13
Every window in the house was a clutter of diamond-shaped leaded lights which might have had some point
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crap, I just wrote this longer than usual review and then I didn't save it!!!!
James Tyron newspaper reporter uncovers a blackmail ring where horses that are favored get scratched just before the race. Newspaper articles are written to increase betting on them and then they are pulled just days before race time. This part of the book was all good and 4 stars the part that I didn't like was the relationship of James Tyron with his bed-bound, polio stricken wife. Ty mostly does the right thing cari
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This installment in the Dick Francis series has more soap opera than many of his stories, focusing as it does on a hero who is married to a woman paralyzed by polio. This nearly intolerable situation forms the core of our hero's life, and is an essential element of the plot -- which I won't give away here.

When I read this book for the first time years ago, it actually impressed a very important principle on me which I still believe in to this day. Specifically, don't let anyone blackmail you (wh
Kristine Hansen
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, books-i-own
A reporter stumbles upon the story he wasn't expecting while doing a fluff piece for a magazine.

This is one of my favorite Dick Francis books though that wasn't always the case. When I first read this so many years ago, I was very young and very judgmental about some of the choices that Ty makes in his personal life. I see that shifting now that I'm older, because I'm able to see now the full depth of this story and really appreciate not only how the story unfolds, but the hard decisions that t
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7-star, british
I was looking for some quick light reading and this Dick Francis that a friend lent me fit the bill. As usual with Francis, the plot was compelling, there was a likeable hero and some sufficiently evil thugs. James Tyrone is a reporter with the Sunday Blaze who covers the horseracing scene. A fellow reporter dies after making mysterious comments to Tyrone about "not selling your soul". Investigating some "non-starters", Tyrone soon runs into a money-making scam and blackmail. I felt sympathetic ...more
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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