British Men Who Write Mysteries 1: Dick Francis

Last week I talked a lot about detective fiction/mysteries that were written by British Women. My list of Books I Have Read 3 Times or More also includes two British Men who write mysteries. One is a Dead British Man, the other a British Man Living In Canada. Let’s start with the dead guy.

Dick Francis wrote a lot of detective fiction about horses and horse racing. The one of his I’ve read 3 times and that I like best is called Proof and it is about a wine merchant. Don’t worry, there are horses in the book, but it doesn’t centre around racetracks or training stables in quite the same way as some of his others do. There is lots of information in the book about wine and whiskey along with a very nice little mystery to be solved. I quite like this one. I’ve still got my copy.

There are two other books by Francis that I’d recommend: To The Hilt and Decider. All three of Proof, To The Hilt, and Decider have really interesting lead characters who aren’t jockeys or trainers. To The Hilt is more about painting and banking than horses (though there are always horses somehow), and Decider is about an architect who also has six small sons. Of these three I think Proof is the best, but the other two stand out among Dick Francis books as being a cut above the rest. Most of Dick Francis’s work is what I call brain candy — amusing and usually well-constructed mysteries. They aren’t solid food, but satisfy the (mental) sweet tooth.


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