Published by GP Putnam's Sons on September 20, 2018
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Harrison Foster, a crisis manager for a London firm, is summoned to Newmarket after a fire in the Chadwick Stables kills six very valuable horses, including the short-priced favorite for the Derby. There is far more to the "simple" fire than initially meets the eye...for a start, human remains are found among the equestrian ones in the burnt-out shell. All the stable staff are accounted for, so who is the mystery victim?
Harry knows very little about horses, indeed he positively dislikes them, but he is thrust unwillingly into the world of thoroughbred racing, where the standard of care of the equine stars is far higher than that of the humans who attend to them.
The Chadwick family is a dysfunctional racing dynasty. Resentment between the generations is rife and sibling rivalry bubbles away like volcanic magma beneath a thin crust of respectability.
Harry represents the Middle Eastern owner of the Derby favourite and, as he delves deeper into the unanswered questions surrounding the horse's demise, he ignites a fuse that blows the volcano sky-high. Can Harry solve the riddle before he is bumped off by the fallout?
Read It, Rate It and Record
A short review to update challenges
I loved the Dick Francis books so much. I have continued on with the Felix Francis books and it’s partially a feeling of nostalgia. They are not as down-to-earth or horse racing related as the elder Francis. These have a bit more upper class view and style. For example, Harry is a lawyer, not a jockey, trainer or groom.
There is also a background romance which is a bit too insta-love. It does serve well in providing Harry emotional support and local knowledge though. I like a bit of romance but I wouldn’t classify this as romance, at all.
The mystery itself was engaging. The characters were pretty well defined. Some characters were more appealing than others, of course. Things moved pretty quickly. Harry is well versed in “keep asking questions and stirring the pot until they come after you” form of detective work. I enjoyed his information gathering and deductions.
I couldn’t remember when I’d last been in bed before eleven o’clock, let alone ten. I would clearly be totally hopeless as a groom. Not only would I be frightened of the horses, I wouldn’t get up in time to ride them out.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 Library-Love Challenge
- 2018 New Release Challenge
I went through a Dick Francis phase years ago and enjoyed the mysteries. I didn’t realise there were Felix Francis books now too (his son?). Maybe it’s time for a revisit?
Yes Felix is his son. The style is a bit more upscale but still around the horse world. He has quite a few. The earlier ones he co-wrote with Dick Francis. They aren’t the same but I still enjoy them.
Ooh! Dick Francis is on my shelf and I wondered about his son’s books so I am happy to see this review. I’m definitely going to check it out and thanks for a great review!
They are all standalones even though Goodreads has some listed as part of a series. I think I’ve read them all and probably put a few sentences on Goodreads about most if it was after 2012 which most are. I really liked this one.
I love Dick Francis! I have been a bit leery of continuing with the books Felix has written on his own, so I appreciate your thoughts on what you like and what differs from Dick Francis’s style. I think I’ll give Felix’s books a try.
Well I liked this one and they all seem to be standalone. You could try any one of them. Yup I have reviewed them all since I joined Goodreads 2012. Happy New Year!
Oh I confess that I think it’s the first time I hear about the author and this book!
They are mystery books set in England connected to horse racing. Start with the many Dick Francis books if you are going to read one. They are all but maybe 2 standalones so pick any one.