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.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 Library-Love Challenge
- 2018 New Release Challenge