The Decider & To The Hilt – Dick Francis

Today is a double bill because I really like Dick Francis. His novels were some of the first mysteries and/or thrillers I ever read. I got The Decider in my stocking one Christmas (I think it might have been grade 9) and I was hooked. Of all his books that I’ve read The Decider and To the Hilt are my favourites. I decided I just couldn’t leave out one and talk about the other. I need to do them both, together.

Let me practice a little RA. What do I like about these books?

  1. Danger – They always get beaten up! I don’t love people getting beaten up but the physical danger is always part of plot. In whatever situation the character is in, the danger is real. They putting their safety on the line.
  2.  Amateur sleuth – I am a fan of the amateur sleuth, perhaps because it makes it a little more relevant to me. Also, because the amateur doesn’t risk danger or sleuth because it’s just another day on the job; they do it because something is a stake and they’ve chosen to take the risk.
  3. Horses – The draw is not the horses per say but the horse world. It always interests me to see the different ways in which Francis can develop a story around the horse world. There are so many different roles and perspectives; he always manages to draw on something new.
  4. British – It does help that the stories are British because I love the UK. It’s also interesting to see how the horse world (see above) incorporates the upper and lower classes in Great Britain. Class is the perennial British issue.

Talking about this all has prompted to think that I haven’t read these books in a long time. (I have read both at least twice.) When some time opens up in the reading schedule, I think I am going to make these a priority…


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