Thursday, January 23, 2014

Field of 13 - Short stories by Dick Francis - Published in 1998

In 1956, Dick Francis, a steeplechase jockey, riding Devon Loch, the Queen Mother’s horse, was in for a win, when mysteriously, it appeared as if the horse were jumping a phantom fence, collapsing 50 yards from the winning post in the Grand National in 1956.

There was no looking back, as the once celebrated and respected jockey, turned his innate sense of the magnificent animal to help him create characters and stories that have captivated readers since the 1960s.
Field of 13 was written in 1998, and is a collection of short stories by this sensitive and insightful author:

1. Raid at Kingdom Hill
This short story first appeared in The Times, 1975. It talks about a bomb scare in a fictional racetrack called Kingdom Hill. What started out as a figment of the Author’s imagination , unfortunately found place in real life, when the 1997 Grand National Steeplechase was halted due to a bomb hoax.

2. Dead on Red
The fast paced story of French hit man Emil Jacques, who targets a jockey Red Millbrook, on behest of a jealous peer Davey Rockman. Jacques is famed in his field and is also a gun collector, hired to kill Red, a famed rider, who stole Rockman’s job.

3. Song for Mona
A mother’s love for horses is the cause for her daughter’s shame and disdain. Mona Watkins loves her animals, this is her livelihood as well as her passion, but is Joanie Vine’s embarrassment, as it hinders her efforts to climb the social ladder.

4. Bright White Star
This story first appeared in Cheshire Life, in 1979.It talks about a tramp and a horse that is stolen on Christmas Eve.

5. Collision Course
The story subtly talks of divine retribution, of how a newspaper editor who has lost his job, earns justice upon a malevolent restaurateur and horse trainer.

6. Nightmare
It first appeared in The Times, 13 April 1974. Story about a horse thief, eluding his past, when his father is killed in the heist.

7. Carrot for a Chestnut
His first short story, written eight years after the debut novel, appeared in Sports Illustrated, in 1970. Chestnut is fed carrots laced with drugs; the jockey is fed a just dessert when he starts to lose concentration and meets with a terrible accident.

8. The Gift
The story first appeared as "A Day of Wine and Roses" in Sports Illustrated, 1973. It is the story about an alcoholic, a former racing writer a pickpocket and a plan to fix the Kentucky Derby.

9. Spring Fever
The story is about unrequited love and the pain of rejection, when a jockey and trainer hatch a plan to embezzle 12000£ from a smitten owner; it first appeared in Women's Own magazine, 1980.

10. Blind Chance
The story first appeared as "Twenty-one Good Men and True" in Verdict of Thirteen: A Detection Club Anthology, 1979. It is about a blind boy who gathers information of how bettors are getting information on races.

11. Corkscrew
The touching story of an honest man charged with a crime he did not commit, whilst his dishonest lawyer swindles the man’s parents out of bail money.

12. The Day of the Losers
It first appeared in Horse and Hound, February 1977. Story of money from an old robbery, police plan to stop a race from getting fixed to catch a crook.

13. Haig's Death
The story of what the outcome will be after a race - the fate of many rests in the hands of the judge.

Field of 13 - Short stories by Dick Francis - Published in 1998

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