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Francis ably follows in the footsteps of his father, Dick Francis, with his second stand-alone set in the English horse racing world (after 2011's Dick Francis's Gamble). Mark Shillingford, a TV commentator who covers horse races, is ridden with guilt over an argument he had with his jockey twin sister, Clare, after discovering that she was losing some races deliberately. In the aftermath of the confrontation, an angry Mark lets Clare's phone messages go to voicemail, a choice he regrets after Clare apparently leaps to her death from a London hotel window. Mark resolves to discover what really happened in the hotel room before the fatal plunge. Suspecting that his sister's cheating was more extensive than she admitted, he studies old video images of her recent races to spot a pattern that may identify those who wanted her dead to cover up the fraud. Fans will have a hard time distinguishing this solid thriller from the father's work. Agent: Philippa Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* The late Dick Francis, once a champion steeplechase jockey himself, specialized in showing readers racing from behind the scenes and from behind the horses' ears, as his early mysteries starred full-time jockeys who sometimes doubled as detectives. Then Francis branched out into sleuthing heroes who were out of the saddle but still connected with the racing world. Felix Francis, Dick Francis' son, researcher, collaborator, and, now, mystery-writing successor, continued this racetrack-centered tradition with his first novel, Dick Francis's Gamble (2011). This follow-up stars race announcer and TV presenter Mark Shillingford, whose height eliminated him from his dream of jumping horses early in his career. His twin sister, Clare, however, is flying high as a flat-race jockey Mark often announces the races his sister wins. But something in Clare's latest race bothers Mark; she appears to have drawn the horse up short, deliberately throwing the race. After Mark confronts Clare about this seeming fraud, she leaves abruptly, drives to London, and falls from the roof of a posh hotel. In classic Francis fashion, Mark's life shreds apart as he investigates his sister's death: he's consumed by guilt over Clare's apparent suicide; his girlfriend leaves him; his job is in danger. And then the journalist who defamed his sister after her death is killed at the racetrack. Francis knows how to control this wild run of a plot and also knows how to create a conflicted character in the midst of crisis. A stunning addition to the family line.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist