Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Decider - Authored by Dick Francis - Published in 1993

The ‘Decider’ is Lee Morris, a thirty five year old architect and builder, who likes to take up restoration projects; his current project is a huge barn house which belongs to his family, which consists of six kids and his wife. Amanda and Lee were married when they were nineteen, high school sweethearts. Over time the two, though living together, have become estranged, putting up a brave front for the boys sake, and respectfully keeping to having civil relations with each other.

It is Easter week, and the family is staying in a converted bus camper, after Amanda insists that Lee and the boys enjoy some time out with each other. The family isn’t prepared to face a violent and confrontational Holy Week, given that they are all fun loving, out doors type, good people.

In the meantime, the manager of the race course - Roger Gardner, makes an offer to Lee that he should help in the modernization and renovation of the racetrack - this despite the fact that the Strattons are conflicted over wanting to sell, renovate or leave the race course the way it is. He has a holding in the Stratton Park Racecourse, whose ownership is conflicted – Lee’s mother had married and divorced Lord Stratton’s son, and part of the racecourse stock came to be hers in the settlement after the divorce. The manager wants   Lee to use his shares to keep the race course running. Keith was the race course owner’s son, hyper abusive and violent, he raped Lee’s mother, after which a girl was born, whom the mother abandoned.

Keith’s father sympathized with his daughter-in-law and gives her a stake in Stratton Park; now with the old man dead - the Strattons want nothing more than to throw Lee out like a runt from the litter. The Strattons are a formidable bunch, they are keen to cheat Lee out of his part of the stock, and when the latter attends a shareholders’ meeting with his five older sons, he is assaulted and beaten - a grim warning that he should relinquish his hold over the racecourse. The slimiest of the lot are Lee’s mother’s ex husband - Keith and Marjorie Binsham, Keith’s aunt.

The worst happens when an explosion occurs in the grandstands of Stratton Park; but not before one of the kids sees explosive charges wired through the stands - he alerts Lee, who tries to get the crowd to vacate, everyone, save the nine year old son, leaves in panic, the bombs explode, thankfully, the child is unhurt.

Lee realizes he is now part of a mysterious conspiracy and has to fight to save his family from unknown sources that are threatening the children’s security. Lee is a dependable sort of guy, balanced and secure, physically well built and mentally very strong as well. He hates being dragged into this family feud, and wants nothing more than to solve the problems of Stratton Park and move on.

Readers rate the 33rd novel of Dick Francis as the best. Unlike most of his other books, The Decider is more family oriented, readers will love Lee for his sensitive dad character, they will ache for Amanda and him to be united, believing strongly that there is love after all those years together. A good read if you like family drama, mystery, intrigue as well as a slight romantic angle in your books!

Decider - Authored by Dick Francis - Published in 1993

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