was a novelist - and a great one at that.
Dick Francis, courtesy of www.dickfrancis.com
Mr. Francis was a very successful National Hunt jockey in the UK. He won over 350 races and was champion jockey in 1953-1954. Upon retirement, he published The Sport of Queens, an autobiography, before going on to write forty-one bestselling novels. Among his numerous accolades, Francis won the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger and is the only three-time recipient of the Mystery Writer of America’s Edgar Award for Best Novel, winning for Forfeit in 1970, Whip Hand in 1981, and Come to Grief in 1996, the same year he was make a Grand Master (lifetime achievement).
In my early days of reading - we're talking junior high school here - Mr. Francis' works were ones that I devoured eagerly. My father's library had all sorts of highbrow fiction and non-fiction, but alongside Alistair McLean and Helen McInnes, Dick Francis novels like Nerve, Flying Finish, and Blood Sport were thrilling peeks into the world of (mostly) British horse racing - with a mysterious and often murderous twist.
Over the intervening years, I occasionally picked up a Francis novel, always knowing that it would be a rewarding and entertaining read. There are very few things in life that are a dead cert, but a Dick Francis novel is one of them.
Thank you, Mr. Francis, for all the hours of exciting reading you provided for myself and countless other fans.