"Dick Francis, who died on February 14 aged 89, began his career as a professional jockey, becoming Champion National Hunt Jockey in 1953-54, and famously rode in Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's colours in the Grand National of 1956; after retiring from the Turf, he became a successful writer of 42 thrillers, topping the best-seller lists for more than 40 years"
I first came across Dick's thrillers in the 1970s and I had to read them being a race horse owner myself back then. Always horses around the books somewhere - always told in first person (it makes you feel so involved). And always the hero (ie Dick as it was in first person) was captured by the villain and often tortured. You felt that Dick had met someone with an interesting trade at a dinner party as his "hero" was very often in some strange business. Such as the restaurant owner/chef and the clients poisoned by the villain with insufficently cooked beans - details see Red Kidney Bean Poisoning. The poor hero nearly lossed everything as it looked like his fault - often a plot in Dick's books. Details like that always made the books exciting.
And the strange thing is that Christine grabbed one of horse racing thrillers for a read and she became hooked too. We recently read one that Dick wrote with his son Felix and I heard Felix will continue the good work.