Publication Order of Sid Halley Books
|Odds Against||(1965)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Whip Hand||(1979)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Come to Grief||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Under Orders||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Refusal||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Kit Fielding Books
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
Publication Order of Short Story Collections
Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books
|The Sport of Queens: The Autobiography of Dick Francis||(1968)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Racing Man's Bedside Book||(1969)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Jockey's Life: The Biography of Lester Piggot||(1986)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Dick Francis was a famous British steeple chase jockey and author of crime novels. This internationally acclaimed writer had published numerous novels in his lifetime which resonated well with horse riding lovers all over the world. He had a penchant for weaving intriguing stories which revolved around crime that took place among horse riding communities. Every book had a central character who was narrating the story which enables writers to see life through his eyes. Over forty of his crime books had topped different international booklists due to his exceptional story telling abilities.
Born Richard Stanley Francis on 31st October 1920 in Coedcanlas, Pembroke, in Wales. Dick Francis was just his pen name which he had chosen to use because it is more memorable. His father was a jockey and was also employed to manage a stable at a firm in Berkshire, England. He dropped out of school at fifteen years intending to become a jockey like his father and ended up becoming an instructor in 1938. At the onset of the World War II, being young and energetic he enlisted in the military where he served as a crew and later a pilot in the Royal Air Force. He worked with the fighter and bomber aircrafts such as the Hurricane. Most of the air travels in his six years of military work took place in distant continents, mostly Africa.
Dick Francis was married to his late wife Margaret Brenchley whom he had met in October of 1945 at a cousin’s nuptials. They tied the knot in 1947 despite encountering objections from relatives on both sides. They were blessed with two sons, Merrick and Felix in 1953. In most interviews, the two disclosed that theirs was the proverbial love at first sight, something the author replicated in some of his characters such as in the Flying Finish novel, knockdown and the Edge.
His wife succumbed to a heart attack in 2000 at their home in Cayman Islands. Later in 2006 Dick Francis also started having health problems, heart had developed some complications which necessitated him to undergo a heart bypass in that year. The following year, he lost his right leg due to his failing heart. He eventually died a natural death on 14 February of 2010 at his Caribbean abode leaving behind his two sons.
Horse Racing Achievements
Horse racing was his first passion before he decided to become a writer. Soon after leaving the force in 1946, he participated in numerous horse races in Britain. He won close to 400 horse races in the British National Hunt Racing which propelled him to stardom in the horse racing world. He was the Champion Jockey in the 1953-1954 periods. His exploits with horse racing did not end on the pitch; he also worked as a first jockey for Vivian Smith, which was considered to be a great honor in those days. He even served as a jockey for the England’s royal family. It was during his work as the Jockey of Queen Elizabeth that he made his biggest blunder in his horse racing career during his famous fall at a racing competition. He missed winning the Grand National in 1956 when the horse he was riding, Devon Loch which belonged to the queen, mysteriously fell just before reaching the finishing line. This was the lowest moment in his racing career.
Not surprising however, he had sustained many injuries due to this sport since he was 12 years old to his adulthood. The loyal Queen’s adviser persuaded him to stop racing in 1957 to avoid getting more broken bones over the same. His novels also depicted this in his characters, most of whom suffered injuries in accidents when racing.
This was his other passion in life besides horse racing for which he was also famous. The first book he penned was his autobiography The Sport of Queens which was published in 1957 for which he was the ghost writer. The book’s success got him a job at the London’s Sunday Express newspaper as a correspondent since it proved him to be an authority in horse riding events. This career spanned for over a decade and he did it dutifully for the next sixteen years. In 1961, his first thriller Dead Cert was published. It was set in the world of racing which had become second to nature to him. His vast experience in that lifestyle gave him a lot of content to use in his imaginative stories.
Over the next 38 years, Dick Francis became engaged in writing over seventy novels. He was dedicated to writing at least two books each year with the exception of 1998 when he wrote a collection of crime related short stories. He was a genius when it came to creating characters that were neither too real nor too fictional. Most of his readers felt that they could somehow relate to these fictitious heroes. He took great care not to paint them as having supernatural powers and tried to make them as human as possible. The heroes, despite being horse racers, they always had another job on the side, their lives were not entirely intertwined with horse racing, occasionally, the characters could extricate themselves from it and pursue other careers. They could be a private investigator, an artist, pilot, wine merchant, or an ex- jockey who is no longer active in racing.
Some of his famous works include In the Flame, To the Tilt, Odds Against, Whip Hand, Come to Grief, Under Orders, The Edge, The Rat Race and Proof among others. The author was also fascinated by other people’s jobs which he exhaustively analyzed in his books. The heroes in his stories were usually given the roles of the narrator to heighten the suspense and create dramatic effect. He also explored social issues like dysfunctional families which he incorporated expertly in his stories to make an interesting read.
Dick Francis wrote his books with the help of his wife Margaret. He acknowledged his spouse’s input in his writing once during an interview saying that she was the one who used to carry out research for the books’ contents. No one could have guessed this strange twist of events but that is how the author got to accomplish his literary feats.Book Series In Order » Authors » Dick Francis