Twice Shy (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Dick Francis—like contemporaries such as P. D. James and John Le Carré—is a novelist who writes in the mystery form. His plots, while appropriate to novels that deal with crime, transcend the mere puzzle aspect of the traditional mystery. In a world peopled with interesting, varied characters driven by believable motivations, Francis expresses his concern with the disastrous effects of crime on everyone. He entertains, but he also gives the reader much to think about beyond the accustomed satisfactions of the genre.
In Twice Shy, his nineteenth novel, Francis once again fulfills most effectively the novelist’s basic task of telling a good story. He writes so well that his standard pattern—that of two intersecting worlds—never grows monotonous. One of his worlds is always horse racing, the other varies widely from novel to novel. Here, the equine plot is intricately involved with computer science—the second “world”—and integrated with several subplots, including the strained marriage of Jonathan and Sarah Derry and the relationship between two brothers—Jonathan and William—of considerable difference in age.
To develop his story, Francis relies upon a simple, tightly constructed, and straightforward plot—unfolded in strict chronological order as effect inevitably follows cause, without conspicuous digression or flashback. The novel moves at a brisk pace, with many of the trappings of the conventional...
(The entire section is 999 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
The Atlantic. CCL, July, 1982, p. 96.
Christian Science Monitor. July 28, 1982, p. 17.
Economist. CCLXXXI, December 19, 1981, p. 87.
Library Journal. CVII, April 1, 1982, p. 748.
Listener. CVI, December 17, 1981, p. 794.
The New Republic. CLXXXVII, September 20, 1982, p. 43.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, April 25, 1982, p. 13.
The New Yorker. LVIII, May 17, 1982, p. 141.
Times Literary Supplement. January 1, 1982, p. 12.
(The entire section is 49 words.)