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Dick Francis: Four Complete Novels: Blood Sport/Flying Finish/Odds Against/Rat Race (1988)

por Dick Francis

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Odds Against: Former hotshot jockey Sid Halley landed a position with a detective agency, only to catch a bullet from some penny-ante thug. Now, he has to go up against a field of thoroughbred criminals--and the odds are against him that he'll even survive (Sid Halley #1.) Flying Finish: Lord Henry Grey was an amateur jockey and pilot. But when he decides to abandon his desk-bound job for an active career in the bloodstock market, he finds that there is more to couriering valuable horses around the world than he had ever suspected. Blood Sport: Gene Hawkings must travel to Kentucky, on the orders of his boss, to spend three weeks looking for kidnapped stallions. But before he leaves, Gene's survival skills are called on closer to home, catapulting him into a maelstrom of blackmail and murder. Rat Race: Hired to fly four racing buffs to the track, pilot Matt Shore expects it will be the kind of job he likes: quick and easy. Until, that is, he??s forced to make an emergency landing just minutes before the plane explodes. Luckily, no one is hurt, but it isn??t long before Matt realizes that he??s caught up in the rat race of violent criminals who are dead-set on putting anyone who stands in their way on the wrong side of th… (mais)
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toujours passionnant ( )
  Danielec | Jun 29, 2019 |
It was the late Edmund Crispin who recommended Dick Francis to me. ‘If you can stand the horse parts’, he said, ‘the mystery parts are quite good.’ I found this an understatement in reverse. The horse parts, as everyone knows by now, are brilliant vignettes of a tiny portion of English life: the world of steeplechase racing. Novel by novel we meet the jockeys, the trainers, the owners (usually being taken for a ride in another sense), the bookmakers, the bloodstock agents, the sporting journalists. We learn what it is like to be a stable-boy at a skinflint North Country trainer’s, to ride in freezing February fog (the first sentence of the first novel is ‘The mingled smell of hot horse and cold river mist filled my nostrils’), to be Clerk of a run-down course that wrongdoers are determined to close. But the mystery parts, if inevitably less realistic, arise naturally from the greed, corruption and violence that lie behind the champagne, big cars and titled Stewards; they concern horse pulling and betting frauds, and lead to wads of used notes in anonymous envelopes, whispered warnings by telephone, and sudden hideous confrontations with big men in stocking masks...

It would perhaps be pushing it a little to say that each Francis novel is a different story enclosing the same story, but it seems like this at times, as if the whole sequence were an allegory of the suffering individual inside endless inimical environments. Francis gives colour to this by his perversely-uninformative titles. One can just remember that Nerve is about a jockey losing, or not losing, his nerve; In the Frame is about sporting pictures; Flying Finish is about horse transport by air. But what is Rat Race? For Kicks? Risk? They seem designed to throw the station-bookstall reader into an agony of indecision as he struggles to remember whether he has read them before. He needn’t worry: they are all worth reading.
adicionada por SnootyBaronet | editarTimes Literary Supplement, Philip Larkin
 
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Odds Against: Former hotshot jockey Sid Halley landed a position with a detective agency, only to catch a bullet from some penny-ante thug. Now, he has to go up against a field of thoroughbred criminals--and the odds are against him that he'll even survive (Sid Halley #1.) Flying Finish: Lord Henry Grey was an amateur jockey and pilot. But when he decides to abandon his desk-bound job for an active career in the bloodstock market, he finds that there is more to couriering valuable horses around the world than he had ever suspected. Blood Sport: Gene Hawkings must travel to Kentucky, on the orders of his boss, to spend three weeks looking for kidnapped stallions. But before he leaves, Gene's survival skills are called on closer to home, catapulting him into a maelstrom of blackmail and murder. Rat Race: Hired to fly four racing buffs to the track, pilot Matt Shore expects it will be the kind of job he likes: quick and easy. Until, that is, he??s forced to make an emergency landing just minutes before the plane explodes. Luckily, no one is hurt, but it isn??t long before Matt realizes that he??s caught up in the rat race of violent criminals who are dead-set on putting anyone who stands in their way on the wrong side of th

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