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The Edge

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,608 ratings  ·  237 reviews
A high-class, transcontinental horse-racing junket should be an idyllic getaway for the super-rich.

But one passenger on this train is a sociopath, a genius at blackmail and criminal corruption—and he plans to take everyone for everything they've got.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 2nd 2005 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1988)
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Stefan Coetzee None of it is set on 'The Canadian' although that train features several times - it is one of the key elements at times. Most of the action is set on …moreNone of it is set on 'The Canadian' although that train features several times - it is one of the key elements at times. Most of the action is set on a special 'Transcontinental Race Mystery Train'. I really enjoyed this book, as I do most of the Dick Francis novels. I thought it was written extremely cleverly and creatively, and with great characters.(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  4,608 ratings  ·  237 reviews


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Phrynne
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2019
As usual Mr Francis is writing about race horses but this book is a little different in that the horses are crossing Canada on a train! They are accompanied by all the necessary owners, riders and hangers on plus our main character who is a kind of special agent employed by the Jockey Club to keep things on the straight and narrow.

I really enjoyed the whole story particularly the details of the train journey which is one I would like to do. On a safer train though. This one was subject to severa
...more
James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Tor Kelsey is young, single, and independently wealthy, which leaves him free to do virtually whatever he wants. He chooses to work as an undercover agent for the English Jockey Club, ferreting out threats to the English racing world. Kelsey is particularly gifted at disguising himself, blending into whatever circumstances in which he might find himself, and sneaking up on his quarry who never even notice that he's there.

In this case, a thuggish blackmailer named Julius Apollo Filmer has insinua
...more
Kwoomac
This was not one of my favorite Dick Francis novels and it tool me awhile to sort out why. It certainly had all the right components in the protagonist, Tor Kelsey. Orphaned (sort of): check. Average guy with above average talents: check. Instalove with slow build up: check. Clever bad guy: check. Even more clever good guy: check.. So what was missing? For me, it was the lack of a relationship between Tor and the bad guy.

Julius Apollo Filmer (bad guy) doesn't even know Tor exists. Tor works for
...more
Steve
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horse-crime
4.5 stars. As others have said, more eloquently than I, much of Dick Francis' heroes are of the same base. Having said that, I enjoyed the buildup, the action and the writing of this book. Due to the way the book played out, there was (it could be argued) two climaxes, both of which were rather delicious, with the second one being a lot more satisfying. I was a little disappointed at the resolution being so short.
Carey
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
All of his books are great. The hero is always someone who is modest, intelligent and clever, but human. The bad guy is always clearly bad, but the world he paints (usually to do with steeplechase horse racing) is magical. I'd read any one of his books and often do reread them for comfort.
David Highton
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took a little while to get going, with our hero undercover on a Jockey Club Train right across Canada, and as many characters as an Agatha Christie country house mystery, but the tension built up well the nearer the train got to Vancouver. Usual reliable stuff from Dick Francis
Harry
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Divya
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Unlike most of Francis' works, this one takes place on a train. Like most, this one also revolves around horses.

The Canadians are trying to set themselves up as the next big thing in race-horsing and to advertise their racing season, they've decided to feature special races and also organize for a traveling jaunt across the country for owners and racegoers by a special train. The cross country experience offers splendid meals on wheels, a 'live' mystery put on by special actors and an opportuni
...more
Liz Mc2
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I would say this is second-rate Francis, but even second-rate Francis is pretty darn good. Tor Kelsey is a rich young man with no remaining family who grew up in the racing world. He takes a job with the Jockey Club doing security (more like intelligence) work because he is an “invisible man” able to blend in anywhere and observe. And then they put him on a Mystery Race Train across Canada to keep an eye on a villain who has escaped before.

The book is just a bit overstuffed: there’s the train, r
...more
Lynn Neilson
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read Dick Francis for probably 15 years - very fun to find one I hadn't read. This is a complicated but really good mystery - horses, of course - setting in Canada - involving owners, criminals, disturbed personalities, and a most satisfying conclusion, not without angst, romance, a troupe of actors and train personnel on the side of good.
LJ
THE EDGE - G+
Francis, Dick - 27th book

A Great Transcontinental Mystery Race, a glittering rail junket that not only promises the opportunity to race a thoroughbred on some of the world's great courses, but something more: an intriguing mystery to be enacted on board, which passengers will be invited to solve. But included on the guest list is one Julius Apollo Filmer, justifiably reputed to be the most ruthless operator lurking in the racing underworld, and he's planning a strange plot of his ow
...more
Ed
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Racing related thrillers - Tor Kelsey, undercover security operative for the British Jockey Club is on the case. Tor poses as waiter on a the Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train. The train is mystery adventure across Canada where there are actors posing as horse owners and passengers and people are not what they seem. Their are various stops along the way where the owners will stop to watch their horses race. Tor has been installed to spy upon Julius Appollo Filmer, who is suspected of mu ...more
J L
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I own all of Dick Francis' books, & recently re-read them all.
The Edge sticks in my mind as one of my favourites - but when I read a few of the other reviews, I agreed with many of the points other reviewers made about why this is not one of their favourites. Thinking on it further, the train journey and the scenery described are a big part of why I enjoy this book more than some of his others - I have long hoped to do that trip through the Rockies, one day. I also enjoyed the many details of t
...more
Becca
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So much fun to read! A creative and engaging mystery with a unique twist-you know who the villain is from the start, but you are trying to figure out what he's going to do next. Also loved the setting.
Joy
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite Dick Francis heroes, Tor knows how to be invisible in plain sight. As such he is invaluable to the Jockey Club's security branch. But can he ride the Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train all the way across Canada with the rich sociopath Julius Filmer, without Filmer noticing him? It's the only way anyone can think of to stop Filmer from sabotaging the train. The show must go on as normal, because the press is ballyhooing the train full of rich horse owners.

Read 5 times
John Gribbin
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book manages the neat trick of being very well written and also incredibly dull. It is mostly set on a luxury train crossing Canada, and most of the narrative involves a description of life on the train. There is very little of the detective work and heroic action that usually features in Francis' books, and very little horsey stuff either. The impression it gives is that Francis was offered a free ride across Canada provided he gave the train a good write up. If so, he certainly fulfilled ...more
Becky Loader
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not your usual Dick Francis mystery!

Tor is an undercover investigator for the British racing authority. Independently wealthy, he pursues his career because of a love of horses and a need to be occupied. He is sent to Canada to try to catch a despicable character who has wrangled his way onto an exclusive train set to take an excursion across Canada. This is no ordinary excursion, as the train carries horses, owners, and high rollers, and there will be stops along the way to participate in very
...more
Clark
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I seldom give a Dick Francis book less than 4-Stars and this is no exception. A very interesting theme (The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train) with a good plot and lots of extraneous information regarding railroads and trains.
I did learn something reading this book that I never knew before. I have always used the term "Lion's Share" when referring to someone who got the largest portion of something, but I never considered where it came from. I learned that, in the jungle, the females (li
...more
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
Very good story about a guy who works undercover for the British Jockey Club, looking for problems before they happen. He’s sent to Canada to do his thing on a transcontinental mystery race train.
Gave it an 8 out of 10.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Yes, five stars for what this is--a good, entertaining listen while I worked around the house. Every cosy mystery writer worth their salt tries their hand at train mystery at some point, and Francis is no exception. James Bond meets Agatha Christie as Our Hero goes undercover to ensure that Canadian racing is kept safe from a British Baddy, while falling in like with a travel agent and befriending a bedridden old lady without ever taking off his disguise. No sex, please--we're British, upstandin ...more
Scoats
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I started reading books in the adult section of the library in the early 1980s, Dick Francis was already a prolific author and all over the shelves. To this day, his books are everywhere to be found, in thrift stores, garage sales, and hand me downs from relatives. Quite a few of them have appeared on our bookshelves. Yet for some reason I never read any his books until the last few years.

Dick Francis has tons of books and all of the dust jackets are pretty much identical. I really didn't
...more
Mrsgaskell
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mrsgaskell by: Noreen
Shelves: 9-star
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery! A friend lent it to me since it involves a cross-Canada (well, Toronto to Vancouver) rail trip and Mr. G and I are leaving tomorrow, travelling VIA Rail Winnipeg to Vancouver. This book has really put me in the mood. It's the second Dick Francis I've read and I expect I will read more whenever I want some easy reading. Tor Kelsey is an undercover investigator for the English Jockey Club and Julius Apollo Filmer is a racecourse villain likely responsible for the ...more
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Francis books. Francis trades the typical setting of the English world for the Canadian countryside, as seen by rail. The hero is, as usual, quietly competent and prone to form sudden and inexplicable romantic connections. The bad guy is nefarious, to be sure, but not quite to psychopathic villain that plagues so many of Francis' other books. The mystery here is rather backwards, as well--the hero and his employers know full well who the bad guy is, and they spend the bulk of ...more
Gilbert Stack
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dick Francis writes about the world of horse racing with crisp plots and tightly drawn characters that are a delight to experience. The Edge is mostly set on a train in Canada which is bringing horse owners from race to race as part of celebration of the Canadian horse racing industry. It’s a delightful setting and serves Francis well as his hero, Tor Kelsey, attempts to figure out A) how bad guy Julius Apollo Filmer plans to disrupt the event, and B) how he (Tor) is going to stop him from doing ...more
Tom
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Classic Dick Francis. Like Louis L'Amour, his heroes are always the same person just by a different name--at least the same personality, intelligence, sense of right, and just plain goodness in a not so good world. But that is okay and doesn't detract from his books in any way--somehow makes them comforting. This mystery is particularly interesting. It is just fun to go along with the hero on a great train ride across Canada, getting to know good and bad people, and watching how, as usual, the h ...more
Patricia Martin
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of Dick Francis' best mysteries--although in this one the hero is not a jockey or former jockey. He is working at the tracks to get rid of 'evildoers' who would ruin racing. He stays very anonymous, until he has to accompany the Great Transcontinental Race Train (across Canada, stopping to allow the rich owners to race their favorit). This time Tor does not know who might be the bad guy or guys as they too are 'undercover'. There are many unusual characters on the train as well as ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, beloved
1 Jan 1989
4 Jul 1990
1 Jan 1998
30 Jul 1998
8 Sep 2016


One of my favorite Dick Francis mysteries. I love the whole train trip. And I reread it accordingly. Every so often. And anon.

The set up, the scenery, the mystery being acted out. I long to recreate the trip, following up with a cruise to see the whales in Alaska.
April Hochstrasser
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
As usual, Dick Francis has constructed a plot so engaging that one hates to go do anything else besides read. Lots of new information, description that entwines one in the story and a most satisfying ending where the bad guys get their comeuppence. I do love his fiction books!
Stacey
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Train travel through Canada, stopping at various cities for horse races. Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Banff, Lake Loiuse and finally Vancouver. I felt like I was on holiday with them!
Amy
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reading an old favorite for some escapism! I love Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman for a good mystery.
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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
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