Thursday, September 20, 2018

Detective Sid Halley Returns in This Thriller from Dick Francis

The protagonists in Dick Francis novels rarely ever made repeat appearances, but one of the exceptions is Sid Halley who we see for the second time in Whip Hand. Halley is a former jockey whose career was ended when a horse rolled over on him, crushing his left hand. The hand was ultimately amputated and he now has a prosthesis. But it's impossible for him to continue riding under these circumstances.

Halley has thus become a private investigator and, not surprisingly, a number of his cases involve the racing world. In this instance the wife of a trainer approaches him and asks him to ensure the safety of one of her husband's prize race horses. In the past couple of years, two of his horses which were virtually guaranteed to win major races, fell way short and ultimately developed health problems and had to be retired from racing. 

The woman is afraid that it's going to happen again with a horse that's set for a big race in a couple of weeks or so. She wants Halley to make sure that no one interferes with the horse, but she also wants him to do so without letting her husband know that she has hired him. Naturally, this might be somewhat difficult, but Halley accepts the assignment.

Inevitably, of course, there is something rotten, if not in Denmark, then at least in the racing world, and vicious, malevolent forces will attempt to prevent Halley from completing his appointed mission. As usual, Francis spins an entertaining tale and this book will appeal to his loyal readers and to others who might find a mystery set in the English racing world intriguing.

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