With the Kentucky Derby just days away, we are getting in the horse racing mood and being rare book enthusiasts, can’t help but think of Dick Francis and his body of work.
Francis, who grew up in Berkshire, England, was a professional jockey and won over 350 races in his accomplished career. He was first jockey to several powerful figures in the English horseracing society. While racing Queen Elizabeth’s horse “Devon Loch” in the 1656 Grand National Race, Francis lost due to the horse falling unexpectedly at the end of the race.
After sustaining an abundance of hard falls and injuries as a jockey, Francis retired and started to write about the pastime that had become his life – horse racing. His first book, The Sport of Queens, was an autobiography and met with much success. After The Sport of Queens came out, Francis became the racing correspondent for a large London newspaper.
Several years after his autobiography was published, Francis published his first fiction novel, Dead Cert. This thriller followed the story of a jockey that should have won a race, but instead was murdered by another jockey. Dead Cert was turned into a film in 1974, starring Scott Antony and Judi Dench.
After the hit of Dead Cert, Dick Francis was hooked on writing thriller novels based around horse racing. He often collaborated with his wife, Margaret Brenchley, crediting her with doing much of the research for his novels. In his long writing career, Francis wrote more than 40 international best-selling novels, all based around horse racing and the characters within that society. Several of his books were made into movies and his character Sid Halley, from five of Francis’ novels, was featured in TV movies.
Francis’ novels were not only best sellers and popular with readers in both England and the United States, but also the recipients of several prestigious awards. In 1999, Dick Francis was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
We have a rare and unique complete set of first edition Dick Francis’ novels, each one signed by the author. This complete set is in fine condition and in fine dust jackets. Whether you’re a horse racing enthusiast or just simply enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby every year, Dick Francis’ thrilling novels are sure to be a great read.