(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Dick Francis’s distinctive formula was the combination of the amateur sleuth genre with the world of horse racing. Despite his reliance on these fixed elements of character and setting, he avoided repetitiousness throughout his more than two dozen novels by working in horse racing from many different angles and by creating a new protagonist for almost every book. His extensive research—one of the trademarks of his work—enabled him to create a slightly different world for each novel. Although many of his main characters are jockeys and most of his stories are set in Great Britain, he varied the formula with other main characters who work in a wide range of professions, many only peripherally connected with racing, and several of the books are set outside Great Britain—in America, Australia, Norway, South Africa, and the Soviet Union.