Posted 20 hours ago

Hands Down

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After the death of the elder Francis, his protege and youngest son Felix took over primary writing duties and continued the legacy with respectable verisimilitude.

Sid starts to investigate and soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that cuts to the very heart of the integrity of British horse racing. Sid starts to investigate and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that cuts to the very heart of racing and then even closer to home.Someone is finding a way to rig horse races for their own financial gain and are blackmailing both jockeys and trainers to further their plot. Sid Halley is back and he has a new left hand having had a transplant since his last appearance in Refusal.

In 1996 I left Australia fr the first time, arrived in London and had to stay in accommodation for one night before moving to Sydenham for my course the following afternoon. Felix Francis studied Physics and Electronics at London University and then spent seventeen years teaching Advanced-Level Physics. And he's married to his beloved Marina and has a nine-year-old daughter named Saskia who is the center of his existence. For over forty years, the London University grad helped father Dick Francis (31 Oct 1920 – 14 Feb 2010), ex-jockey known for horse-racing mysteries.

Spelling and vernacular are UK English, but shouldn't pose any problems in context for readers from North America.

Having read many of the authors (and his fathers) previous books there is a somewhat familiar style and feel to the book, however, that does not mean that the author has not kept this book feeling fresh, the plot is wonderfully contrived, in its construction it feels as though Sid Halley is leading himself up a blind alley as he tries to do right by all but that in itself presents a conundrum in also getting justice and retribution, for me that added a clever dimension to the plot-line which allowed the book to have many a twist, the suspense and intrigue surrounding this kept me thinking as to where the book would lead. I would have enjoyed this last of the Sid Halley series more if the actual crime involved hadn’t been so similar to that of the previous book—Refusal—which I had just barely finished. There were several disparate plot threads and they crossed and intertwined and were sometimes difficult to keep track of.

As a side plot, there is some discussion about Sid's transplanted left hand and his feelings about it, as well as some marital tension regarding that hand. Sid Halley, former champion jockey who lost a hand to a terrible fall in a race and subsequent additional injury, now has an astonishing real live, and live is the operative adjective, transplanted left hand, which he has to mind carefully but which seems to be a growing cause of estrangement for his wife. Reading her collection of books has stirred up a lot of memories, mostly of our shared love of reading. Nearing fifty and having much more to lose made Sid a more careful investigator but still a very persistent and intelligent one. Since my mother passed away over a year ago, I have been making my way through her book collection, finally.

Life should be looking good but things start to sour when his wife decides to go home to be with her mother when she finds out that her father is dying. At that point - with no resolution of the situation between he and his wife - Sid sets off to investigate what appears to be corruption at the track that involves "dirty" agents, blackmail and race fixing.Besides spending time with Sid, Chico is back, too, acting as his bodyguard and so is his ex-father-in-law Charles. Nothing really appealed and I am not into horse racing, but I found a copy of Whip Hand and started reading.

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