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Book Title: Odds Against|
The author of the book: Dick Francis
ISBN 13: 9780425198001
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.23 MB
Edition: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Date of issue: February 1st 2005
Read full description of the books Odds Against:”It came, the blinding flash in the eyes, as we soared into the air. White, dazzling, brain shattering light, splintering the day into a million fragments and blotting out the world in a blaze as searing as the sun.
I felt Revelation falling beneath me and rolled instinctively, my eyes open and quite unable to see. There there was the rough crash on the turf and the return of vision from light to blackness and up through grey to normal light.”
Two years ago Sid Halley crashed during a horse race and horse shoes made razor thin by use sliced up his left arm like roast beef at the deli counter. The doctors wanted to take his arm, but he insisted that they sew it up and hope for the best.
The best turned out to be an arm so deformed that people can’t bear to look at it and can’t bear to look away. Sid learns to hide his hand in his pocket. His days as a championship steeplechase jockey are over. He has a friend give him a job in his detective agency out of pity or with the hopes to put him back on his feet? Sid isn’t sure, but he is itching to get back to feeling useful.
The novel begins with Sid recovering from a bullet wound to his stomach. His first stakeout did not go very well. His wife has left him, but his father-in-law the Admiral, who didn’t want him in the first place, is sticking with him. It seems like when things start going wrong for someone they keep going wrong. Sid barely has time to recover from one disaster before another is staring him in the face.
Sid finds himself saddled with a nonexistent personal life, but hopes that throwing himself into a case will at least keep him occupied. He starts investigating a series of mishaps at a local racetrack. This quickly escalates into a scam worth millions and when things are worth millions people who get in the way start to get hurt. Sid can’t clear all the jumps that have been put in front of him. Desperate to help, and motivated by the natural tenacity that made him such a great jockey lands him at the mercy of a trio of crooks who enjoy administering pain to cripples.
And when they are beautiful it somehow lends more pain to the process.
”Doria Kraye stood there, maliciously triumphant. She was dressed theatrically in white slender trousers and a shiny short white jacket. Her dark hair fell smoothly, her face was as flawlessly beautiful as ever: and she held rock steady in one elegant long-fingered hand the little .22 automatic I had last seen in a chocolate box at the bottom of her dressing-case.”
‘The end of the line, buddy boy,’ she said.”
Sid does meet a woman who doesn’t wish to be as beautiful as Doria Kraye, but she does wish that she could be normal, just plain would be fine. Fire has turned a portion of Zanna’s face into a dreadful mess. She can’t just hide her face in her pocket like Sid can his hand.
The interesting part that Dick Francis explores so deftly in this novel is the way people react to deformity. It brings out the absolute worst in some people by inspiring mystifying hatred or a smothering bout of pity or a chilling abhorrence when all anyone wants who has suffered some crippling accident is to be treated normal. Zanna moves her desk at work so the good side of her face is what people see. Even though she can’t see her face, she can see her face in the eyes of the people who notice the burns. The blanched expressions and the looks of horror never allow her to forget.
I used to believe that people who suffering these crippling injuries will eventually adjust and they do, but unfortunately the people that they see day in and day out do not ever allow them to just move on. They have to deal with the reactions to their injuries every day. Unless a person is strong willed their injury will end up defining them.
Even when they have lost their jockey some of the horses want to finish the race.
It has been a long time since I’ve read Dick Francis, too long. I enjoy horse racing, although I mostly stick to The Triple Crown of racing and the big races leading up to those events. I did recently, almost by accident, watch a steeplechase race from England on television. It was fascinating. The jumps, the jockeys who get thrown, and the horses that continue to run the race without their jockeys. I had never seen anything like it before. I don’t know how they keep enough steeplechase jockeys ambulatory to keep having races. That bit of fortuitous channel flipping did plant the seed back in my mind to read the Sid Halley series by Francis. I’d never read them, but always heard they were excellent. Next in the series is Whip Hand which many fervent Francis fans consider to be his best book. I for one can’t wait!
Read information about the authorDick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.
Dick Francis worked on his books with his wife, Mary, before her death. Dick considered his wife to be his co-writer - as he is quoted in the book, "The Dick Francis Companion", released in 2003:
"Mary and I worked as a team. ... I have often said that I would have been happy to have both our names on the cover. Mary's family always called me Richard due to having another Dick in the family. I am Richard, Mary was Mary, and Dick Francis was the two of us together."
* Sid Halley Mystery
* Kit Fielding Mystery
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