The last week or so I’ve gone back to reading crime novels, and I started with Crossfire by the father/son-duo Dick & Felix Francis.
Dick Francis had several professional careers through his life: During WWII he was a pilot in the RAF, during the fifties he was a professional jockey and also rode for The Queen Mother (the mother of Queen Elisabeth) and from the last half of the fifties until the early seventies he worked as a journalist while also writing crime novels. He wrote an autobiography in 1957 and has since written more than 40 crime novels, the last 4 with his son Felix Francis. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages and more than 30 of them has been translated into Norwegian. Dick Francis passed away in early 2010.
Dick Francis usually has different main characters in all his books, the exception being Sid Halley (ex-jockey turned private eye) who turns up in 4 books (first appearing in 1965 and last seen in 2006) and Kit Fielding (jockey) who is in 2 books. The main characters has different professions and some of the books that place in other countries than the UK, but the books always has some connection to horse racing, mostly steeplechasing.
The common environment makes it a lot like reading a series, you know more or less what to expect and don’t have to get to know a completely new environment. At the same time the author has the freedom of creating new characters with new stories, a freedom that authors of regular series must envy.
The leading character in Crossfire is Captain Thomas Forsyth. He’s been seriously injured in Afghanistan and after being released from hospital he goes to stay at his mothers place. She is a well known and very successful racehorse trainer. He quickly discovers that things are far from right at Kauri Stables. Horses loose races in a disturbing manner, and his mother doesn’t want to admit that there is a problem.
As usual when it comes to Dick Francis this is an exciting book with some good surprises along the way. I don’t think it’s great, but good enough to be an enjoyable read.
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