Monday, February 15, 2010

Dick Francis 1920-2010

Dick Francis, the best-selling thriller writer, has died at the age of 89, reports BBC News.
Francis [won] numerous accolades for popular fiction in his genre, including Crime Writer's Association lifetime achievement award in 1996.

He was awarded a CBE in 2000 for services to literature.

Numerous tributes have been published, including by Simon Barnes in the Times:
The sameness of his books is not his weakness but his strength. You know what you’re getting with a Dick Francis. And given that there are so many of them, his consistency is astonishing. I have hardly met a dud, and I have read an awful lot of them.

Perhaps the best is Bonecrack, set in Newmarket, in which our hero outwits an insane Mafia chief fixated on the idea of having his son win the Derby as a jockey. It’s not terribly likely, no, but you don’t argue the point when the plot’s on the gallop and the baddie’s coming to get you. The weightiest is The Danger, the kidnap one. Hot Money actually has a strong character alongside the narrator.

How should we assess the Francis oeuvre? As an incomparable entertainer, as the best aeroplane books ever written. Marcel Proust merely wrote about time: Dick Francis destroyed time. Are we at JFK already?

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