Second Wind

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Dick Francis. I’m a big fan and I put him up there with with Grafton and Hillerman in that group of my top mystery and crime writers. This is the 21st book of his that I’ve read. He has like 40 I think.

I’ve said this before: these three writers really make me care about the characters. Francis is different because unlike Grafton and Hillerman, he very rarely (if ever) repeats characters. But that doesn’t detract from the character depth that he builds in each book.

His main characters vary widely and are usually not cops or private investigators. They are mostly just regular guys thrown into some sort of criminal situation that they have to get themselves out of. This book is about a meteorologist who gets embroiled in the illegal trade of plutonium with a surprising twist involving unpasteurized milk. C’mon, you gotta read it, it’s only 261 pages.

Despite Francis’ wide range of characters, there is plenty of Grafton-style continuity because each book is loosely related to the UK horse racing industry. Whereas Grafton has Santa Barbara and Hillerman has the four corners, Francis has Newmarket and the sport of kings. It makes for a fine backdrop.

I probably won’t read another one this year, but maybe.