As one of the youngest ever winners of the Grand National, Nick 'Foxy' Foxton's career as a world class jockey is on perfect track until a near fatal accident cuts his dream brutally short. But when he returns to Aintree as a spectator years later, nothing can prepare him for what unfolds.
Minutes before the biggest event on the racing calendar, Nick's affable American colleague Herb Kovak is shot at point blank range, the gunman disappearing amongst the stunned crowd. Along with the police, Nick is left baffled as to why anyone would want to kill such an apparently gentle soul.
With the press speculating links to gangland crime and a crumpled note containing a threatening message found in the dead man's coat, Nick begins to doubt how well he really knew Herb. And on discovering Herb had named him as the benefactor of his will, Nick questions why he has been entrusted with the legacy. Is this a generous gift from a friend or is it, in fact, a poisoned chalice?
About the Author
Felix Francis is Dick Francis’s youngest son. Born in 1953, Felix studied Physics and Electronics at London University and then embarked upon a 17 year career teaching Advanced Level physics at three schools, the last seven as head of the science department at Bloxham School in Oxfordshire.
Felix remembers conversations around the Francis breakfast table being somewhat unconventional. “The production of a Dick Francis novel has always been a mixture of inspiration, perspiration and teamwork. The first one was published when I was nine, and I grew up in a house where breakfast talk would be about the damage a bullet might do to a man’s guts rather than the more mundane topics of everyday life”, he says.
Over the past 40 years Felix assisted Dick with both the research and the writing of many of his novels. They shared a love of racing and often worked together on plot and character details at Dick’s home in the Cayman Islands. This partnership allowed Dick to draw upon Felix’s knowledge and experience as a physics teacher in Twice Shy and his past as an international marksman in Shattered (2000) and Under Orders (2006).
With the publication of Dead Heat in 2007, Felix took on a more significant role in writing. Silks (2008) was the second novel in this father-and-son collaboration and Even Money (2009) was the third. Crossfire (2010) was the novel Dick and Felix Francis were working on when Dick died in February 2010, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in the Dick Francis brand.
Dick Francis was acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world and he wanted his legacy to live on through his son, Felix, and the novels that they planned together. Gamble, coming in September 2011, is a Dick Francis novel written by Felix Francis.
Dick Francis was one of the most successful post-war National Hunt jockeys. The winner of over 350 races, he was champion jockey in 1953/1954 and rode for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. On his retirement from the sport he published his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write forty-three bestselling novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), and the biography of Lester Piggott. He was rightly acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world.
Dick Francis was the winner of the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger and the only three-time recipient of the Mystery Writer of America’s Edgar Award for Best Novel, winning for Forfeit in 1970, Whip Hand in 1981, and Come to Grief in 1996, the same year he was make a Grand Master for a lifetime’s achievement. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2000.
His last four novels – Dead Heat, Silks, Even Money and Crossfire - were written in collaboration with his younger son, Felix, a former teacher who, over the past 40 years, helped research many of the Dick Francis novels. Crossfire, published in September 2010, was the book that he and Felix were working on before his death in February 2010.
Since his death, Felix has taken over the literary reigns from his father and Dick's legacy will live on through the Dick Francis novels.