Posted 20 hours ago

Hands Down

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Felix Francis is showing himself a worthy successor to his father (though some say it was Mom Francis that really wrote for Dick) once again in this Sid Halley mystery that goes into the weeds on betting on and throwing steeplechase horseraces in England and Scotland. Jockey-turned-private eye Sid Halley was last seen in Refusal after losing his left hand in a nasty fight with even nastier opponents; for his troubles, he ended up with a prosthetic hand and a wife who who insisted that he quit his detecting work.

His wife Marina has decided she needs some time out of their marriage to think about the future and Sid is devastated. The writing is smoother, but there is a lot that is a bit off putting, which adds up to "I might take it off the shelf at the library if it were right in front of me, but I might not" and I certainly am not seeking them out. When his friend turns up dead, apparently by suicide, then he can't resist the urge to investigate, assisted once again by Chicco. I have to think that Francis does not know many women, or go to racing often, because almost every character is a man.Sid Halley, a private investigator, has a new left hand, having had a transplant since his last appearance in Refusal. Sid demands the guy back down or he’ll pass all of the information he’s collected to the police and to the British racing authority. I did feel this entry in the series was maybe a trifle more scattered and difficult to follow than most of the others.

I've not read another novel, where the intrepid investigator has had a hand transplant so I'll note I learned a few things about that along the path to a solution to what happened to Sid's friend Gary. For over forty years, the London University grad helped father Dick Francis (31 Oct 1920 – 14 Feb 2010), ex-jockey known for horse-racing mysteries. Set against the backdrop of horse racing this one has Sid with a new arm to replace the prosthetic one. This had a decent plot and a number of interesting characters but unfortunately they failed to gel into a good read, somehow I was completely disengaged and quite honestly it was boring. This outing is filled with extensive descriptions and the historical background of anything that gets mentioned.Biography: Felix Francis studied Physics and Electronics at London University and then spent seventeen years teaching Advanced-Level Physics. However, the very next morning, the friend’s stable yard is torched, horses killed, and then the friend is found dead.

An ex jockey friend Gary Bremner contacts Sid and begs him to drive to his stables as he feels his life is in danger, but Sid tells him he can’t that if he needs him he should drive to him. But when he learns that his friend's stables have burned down and he's presumed dead, Sid feels he has no choice but to get involved.Reading her collection of books has stirred up a lot of memories, mostly of our shared love of reading. But when Marina expresses discontent in their marriage and takes Saskia to visit her parents because her father is dying, Sid wonders if she'll ever come back.

Sid Halley, former champion jockey who lost a hand to a terrible fall in a race and subsequent additional injury, now has an astonishing real live, and live is the operative adjective, transplanted left hand, which he has to mind carefully but which seems to be a growing cause of estrangement for his wife.perfect for curling up on a chilly autumn evening and reading it will definitely keep you guessing and completely engrossed from start to finish. Watching the news the following day, he sees that Bremner’s horse barn has gone up in flames, and several horses have been killed, including, perhaps, Bremner. With his mind elsewhere, Sid poo-poos the situation and puts the guy on hold at least for a couple of days. His wife and daughter have left for the Netherlands to see her parents leaving him free to dig to the bottom of this mystery.

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