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Friday, November 16, 2007


**** Slayride by Dick Francis. Mystery.

How peculiar. In the original paperback, the title is clearly "Slayride"--one word. But the recent reprints have all been "Slay Ride"--two words. Not a big deal, unless you're looking for it on Amazon.

British Jockey Club investigator David Cleveland travels to Norway investigating the disappearance of British jockey Robert Sherman. It's presumed that he'd stolen the day's take from the racecourse and vanished. However, neither he nor the money has turned up, and some of the evidence doesn't quite fit together.

Things get complicated fairly quickly, and instead of a straightforward case of theft, Cleveland finds himself with a murdered witness, and his own life in danger.

If you like horses and horse racing, you'll probably enjoy this (and all of Dick Francis's books, for that matter) more than I did. In Slayride, there's a lot of detail about the Norwegian racing world, and how it differs from, say, the British.

I enjoyed the logical unraveling of clues--my favorite type of mystery. At times, this made the book seem a bit plodding, as Cleveland followed false leads, but it also felt realistic.

Best, though, was the twists and turns. The reader gets to experience them along with Cleveland--that is, they're not telegraphed or obvious... at least not to me.

I tend to mildly enjoy Dick Francis's books, and Slayride was no exception. He does a good job of crafting a mystery, but I get bored with the horse stuff after a while. So he's an occasional read rather than an author I collect.


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