Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thriller - horse racing - Francis

Dick Francis CBE (b. Richard Stanley Francis, 1920, Wales); British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey. Son of a jockey and stable manager.
He flew fighters and bombers in the RAF for six years. After WWII, he won more than 350 races in British National Hunt racing and was Champion Jockey in 1953 and 1954.
From 1953 to 1957 he was jockey to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In 1957 a serious fall forced his retirement. His most famous jockey moment came as he rode the Queen Mother's horse, Devon Loch, in the 1956 Grand National. The horse inexplicably fell when close to winning the race.
In 1957, his autobiography, The Sport of Queens led him to become racing correspondent for the London Sunday Express for 16 years. In 1962, he published Dead Cert. His books are all set in horse racing environs.
His wife, Mary, did much research and editing of his later novels. After her death in 2000, Francis wrote nothing until Under Orders. Dead Heat and Silks were co-written by his son Felix, his manager and now research assistant. Felix was the inspiration for a character in Twice Shy. His son, Merrick, racehorse trainer and later horse transporter, inspired Driving Force.
· The Sport of Queens (1957)
With Felix Francis: