There are many famous authors whose books I have never even considered reading. Given that I need to make my way through 50 volumes this year, I decided I need to move out of my literary comfort zone, which tends towards classic novels and contemporary literary fiction. I’m prepared to admit to a certain reluctance to attempt writing which I perceive to be too popular. OK, I am getting to be a bit of a book snob in my old age! To counteract this creeping pomposity, I decided to sample the work of some writers whose names I instantly recognise, but dismiss as being not quite ‘my thing’. Dick Francis was the first of these household names which I have hitherto completely ignored!
‘Enquiry’ was chosen at random from a shelf in the charity shop. According to reviews though, I luckily picked one of Francis’ classics. The book is a mystery thriller, concerned with the enquiry conducted following jockey Kelly Hughes’ second place finish in the Lemonfizz Cup. His failure to win arouses suspicion of betting irregularity – both Hughes and his trainer (Cranfield) have their licenses withdrawn, leaving the yard facing ruin. Hughes is convinced he has been framed and sets out to prove it. The trail causes him to question many in his racing circle and sends him to private investigators and Jockey Club dinners. No doubt about it, Hughes is a sexy hero – he’s gritty, witty, determined, and drives a Lamborghini!
There was nothing at all to dislike about the book; the characters are somewhat stereotyped, but still credible. It’s cleverly plotted, fast-moving and leaves no loose threads at the end.
I can’t say I’d rush to read many more Dick Francis but I’ll try anything once.
Apart from Sophie Kinsella, that is.