Dick Francis, Author Putnam $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-399-13871-3
Dick Francis knows horses, but in this deeply satisfying novel of intrigue, he shows that he also has a handle on architecture, construction, even crowd control. Narrator Lee Morris, 35, is an architect/builder specializing in restoring ``ruins'' like his own splendid barn house inhabited by his six sons and his lovely, but increasingly remote, wife. He is also one of few shareholders in Stratton Park racecourse, ownership of which is being hotly contested by the heirs of Lord Stratton. Lee's mother had married and quickly divorced the baron's vicious son Keith. Since part of her divorce settlement included the racecourse stock, Lee (accompanied by his five eldest sons) attends a shareholders meeting. With few exceptions the Strattons are a very nasty crew--cheats, blackmailers, just plain vicious--and during the course of the fight over selling or restoring the track, Lee is beaten, nearly blown up and finally forced to race to save his sons at the excruciating climax. Francis's deft plotting and sharp characterization are, as usual, on the mark: both Lee and his progeny are realistic and appealing. And as usual, he excels in exposing some of England's nastier class habits, meanwhile affirming the morality of his protagonist. BOMC main selection; QPB alternate; Reader's Digest selection; author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
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