Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Crossfire

Posted by nliakos on June 27, 2011

by Dick Francis and Felix Francis (Putnam’s 2010)

I guess this must be Dick Francis’ last novel; he died in February of 2010 (Click here for the NY Times obituary).  I have probably read all of his books (for years, I waited anxiously for the next one each December; I couldn’t even wait for the paperback before buying it). This one follows the same formula: fundamentally nice guy with connection to British racing world gets mixed up in and finally solves crime after suffering excruciating pain inflicted by criminals. The protagonist usually falls in love with a lovely woman along the way; in this book, that doesn’t happen, but everything else goes according to the usual plan. Tom Forsyth, having lost a foot in Afghanistan, returns reluctantly to his mother’s home in Lambourn to find that she and his stepfather are being blackmailed. Tom single-handedly tracks down the blackmailers and brings them to justice, although he almost loses his life in doing so.  I have read so many versions of Francis’ basic plot that I can’t understand why I still find it appealing, but as always, I devoured all 336 pages in less than a single day. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I just like the protagonists of Francis’ books: they are smart, brave, tough, and honest (see previous post) and I just want to see how they defeat their adversaries. Apparently, knowing that this will happen does not dilute the pleasure of reading to the end.  This is not great literature, but for a pleasure read, Francis is still one of my favorites. I will miss him.

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