"Sadly, death at the races is not uncommon. However, three in a single afternoon was sufficiently unusual to raise more than one eyebrow." It's the third death on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day that really troubles super-sleuth Sid Halley. Last seen in 1995's Come to Grief, former champion jockey Halley knows the perils of racing all too well but, in his day, jockeys didn't usually reach the finishing line with three .38 rounds in the chest. But this is precisely how he finds jockey Huw Walker who, only a few hours earlier, had won the coveted Triumph Hurdle. Just moments before the gruesome discovery, Halley had been called upon by Lord Enstone to make discreet inquiries into why his horses appeared to be on a permanent losing streak. Are races being fixed? Are bookies taking a cut? And if so, are trainers and jockeys playing a dangerous game with stakes far higher than they realize? Halley's quest for answers draws him even deeper into the darker side of the race game, in a life-or-death power play that will push him to his very limits, both professionally and personally.More
"Dick Francis is a genius." (Los Angeles Times)
"The writing and action are as crisp as ever." (Publishers Weekly)
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Happy to see you again, Sid Halley!
<strong>Under Orders</strong> is the fourth book in Dick Francis’ series featuring one of his most popular detectives, ex-jockey Sid Halley, who turned to investigation after an accident (and a villain) left him without one of his hands. Previous stories in the series are <strong>Odds Against</strong>, where Sid adjusts to the loss of his marriage and his career as a jockey while working for an investigative firm, followed by <strong>Whip Hand</strong>, where he strikes out on his own as a detective with trusty sidekick Chico Barnes, and <strong>Come To Grief</strong>, where his relationship with the “Cassandra Committee” begins. Each book presents an not only an interesting puzzle, with illuminating insights into the world of British horse racing, but also lets you see how Sid grows and changes with his life experiences and with modern developments.
<strong>Under Orders</strong> shows us an older, more settled Sid Halley who, at 38, has finally found his new love, the humorous Dutch scientist Marina. The interplay between the two enlivens an interesting story that involves race fixing, internet gambling, and murder. The plot presented many surprises with Francis’ usual twists and turns, including the identity of the villain. In other areas it was predictable, leaving you wanting to tap Sid on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you are overlooking this!”
Although Tony Britton is my favorite Dick Francis reader, Martin Jarvis did a wonderful job and did not detract from my enjoyment of the story in any way. His reading is slightly more boisterous than Tony Britton’s but he does very well with town and country British accents from various classes.
All in all, this was a good story and an absolutely essential listen for Dick Francis enthusiasts. Fans of Sid Halley will be delighted to be reunited with his most popular detective.
- Lynne Phelps
Read this one Fourth