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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Remembering Dick Francis

It seems appropriate that former jockey and best-selling mystery writer Dick Francis was remembered in the Sports section of Great Britain’s The Guardian newspaper (Dick Francis Obituary: Champion Jockey Who Became a Best-selling Thriller Writer, Feb. 14, 2010). Francis, the author of 45 crime novels, died at the age of 89 last Sunday in the Cayman Islands where he had a home.

Prior to becoming a celebrity writer of thrillers, Francis was a celebrity in horse-racing circles in Great Britain. He was named a champion jockey during the 1953-1954 racing season and became the jockey for the queen mother for four seasons. After the horse he was riding for the queen mother collapsed just before crossing the finish line in 1956, he turned to sports journalism and eventually to fiction, publishing one novel per year.

Francis won the Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America three times and was named a grand master, the group’s highest honor in 1996. In 1990, he won the Diamond Dagger, the highest honor of the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. He received one of Great Britain’s highest honors as a commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Here’s a few of Francis’ best novels for you to try:

Come to Grief (1995)

Decider (1993)

Driving Force (1992)

Break In (1985)

Banker (1982)

Straight (1981)

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