Archetypal Francis hero Freddie Croft is a 35-year-old former champion steeplechase jockey, knowledgeable about the British racing milieu and tolerant of its denizens, a bit of a loner, keen on honor and notably phlegmatic. His phlegm is sorely tested when two of his drivers--he owns 14 vans that transport racehorses from a Hampshire village--arrive with the body of a hitchhiker who died in the backseat during the ride. Before the death is ruled natural Freddie's head mechanic, Jogger, finds odd empty containers hidden on three vans. Freddie chases a midnight prowler, Jogger turns up with his neck broken, the firm's computer system crashes with a virus and Freddie discovers 10cc tubes filled with mysterious liquid in a Thermos that belonged to the dead hitchhiker. Worried that drugs are being smuggled during the vans' regular trips between England and Ireland and the Continent, he enlists help from Jockey Club Security in the undercover form of glamorous, older Nina. Muscle, money and malice threaten our hero in a wonderfully complicated plot centering on a tick virus. Colorful and believable characters, a setting so realistic the book could double as a manual on running a horse-transport firm, a delicious puzzle and a very satisfying ending add up to first-class entertainment. Francis ( Comeback and 31 other mysteries) is not a brand-name author for nothing. Paperback rights to Fawcett; Literary Guild and Mystery Guild main selections, Doubleday Book Club alternate; Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992 Release date: 10/01/1992 Genre:
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.