Dick Francis (pictured with his son Felix Francis) was born in South Wales in 1920. He was a young rider of distinction winning awards and trophies at horse shows throughout the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, flying fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster.
He became one of the most successful postwar steeplechase jockeys, winning more than 350 races and riding for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. After his retirement from the saddle in 1957, he published an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write more than forty acclaimed books, including the New York Times bestsellers Even Money and Silks. A three-time Edgar Award winner, he also received the prestigious Crime Writers' Association's Cartier Diamond Dagger, was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000. He died in February 2010, at age eighty-nine, and remains among the greatest thriller writers of all time.
Max Moreton, chef and part owner of the Hay Net, an acclaimed restaurant in Newmarket, England, is suffering from what is apparently food poisoning. After an agonizing night, Max is alarmed when his assistant calls to say that he and several other staff members have suffered the same fate. When the Public Health Department seals the restaurant--owing to the poisoning of over 250 guests--Max fears his days as a top chef may be over, though he does have another big event to arrange. But someone has other plans for Max's Newmarket soiree--a bomb that blasts through the room--and Max will have to hone his investigative skills to discover what lies at the heart of these occurrences. As usual, Francis, joined for the first time by his son, keeps us all tuned in till the very last word. Martin Jarvis's excellent narration helps make this book another winner for Francis and his many fans. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Books on Tape also has a version available: 9 CDs. unabridged. 10 hrs. 2007. ISBN 978-1-4159-4521-6. $90.--Ed.]--Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
MWA Grand Master Francis's first collaboration with his son Felix, a former physics teacher who researched many of his father's previous bestsellers, introduces an engaging hero, though longtime fans may find certain plot elements, like an unlikely love interest and sinister figures somehow connected with shady racetrack doings, less than fresh. The reputation of Max Moreton, a young wunderkind chef with a restaurant in Newmarket, England, suffers after guests at an affair he caters fall ill with food poisoning. This calamity nearly jeopardizes another job-feeding several dozen attendees at a major horse race. While that meal goes off without a hitch, a terrorist's bomb decimates the crowd at the track. Despite the official theory that an unpopular Middle Eastern ruler at the event was responsible, the chef wonders whether the bombing is related to the earlier food poisoning and turns amateur sleuth. Crisp writing and well-paced action help offset the routine plotting. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.