His 30th novel shows once again why Dick Francis ( Longshot ) is a major brand name in the thriller genre; the components here include seamless and swift plotting, a wonderful mix of believable characters, suspense and a bang-on horse-racing background. Peter Darwin, a young diplomat stationed in Japan, has just landed a plum job in the English Foreign Office. Stopping in Miami on his way home, he befriends a middle-aged British couple, and comes to their rescue when they are mugged soon afterward. Shaken, they prevail on Peter's good nature, and he agrees to stay with them in Cheltenham while they prepare for their daughter's wedding. Peter soon becomes involved in helping save the reputation of the groom-to-be, a veterinary surgeon plagued by a series of mysterious equine deaths. Using his professional skills and sharp powers of observation (``The older man, noticeably top heavy . . . legs too short for his torso . . . sharp-eyed, pugnacious; a Rottweiler of a man'') Peter unravels a generations-spanning skein of murder, suicide, swindling and equine cruelty. No actual racing here but the Gold Cup locale is atmospheric and the medical background fascinating and informative, notably an emergency operation on a pregnant mare. And the smart, likable hero deserves more adventures from the master. Paperback rights to Fawcett. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991 Release date: 10/01/1991 Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-399-13711-2
Prebound-Other - 321 pages - 978-0-613-06507-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 324 pages - 978-0-425-23331-3
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