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<p><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.
<p><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!”
<p>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.
<p>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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
If you like one Dick Francis mystery, you will probably like them all (if you get a good reader - which is usually the case fortunately). He wrote four mysteries featuring ex-jockey Sid Halley: Odds Against (1965); Whip Hand (1979); Come to Grief (1995); and Under Orders (2006). Even though the books span 40 years, the elapsed time within/between all the stories is about 3 or 4 years. Technology advances with the times from book to book and we aren't supposed to notice that as readers. After all, it's really the mysteries and Francis' quality writing that we're here for, isn't it? Of the four, I felt this was the weakest - but still worth it to complete the set. I'm not a big Martin Jarvis fan and this was also the first book Francis published after a long absence from publishing due to the death of his wife.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful