World War II pilot, champion jockey and internationally bestselling author, Dick Francis CBE has died today aged 89 at his home on the Cayman Islands.
The recurring theme of his many mystery thrillers was of course racing, and first out of the starting gates was Dead cert published in 1962. Publishing a novel a year, Francis employed a variety of main characters. Sid Halley appeared in several titles, as did Kit Fielding, and his leading men all shared similar character traits: solitary, physically and mentally tough, resourceful and attractive to women, Francis’s heroes strive to win but not at any cost. Decency, responsibilty, justice and fair play are central themes in all Francis’s 41 racey-pacey titles.
Unusually in 1999 his publishers acknowledged the important creative input of Francis’s wife Mary, previously she had been credited just with draft reading and editing his work, and after Mary’s death in 2000 Francis’s son Felix came on board as co-author.
Regardless of writing roles, together the Francis family made the racing world come alive.