The November selection for Firewheel's B&N Mystery Reading Group was by the author Dick Francis. The title of the book was Whip Hand. It featured Sid Halley who was once a winning horse jockey. However an accident in racing caused him to lose one of his hands and a portion of the arm. Now he is working on being a private investigator.
In this story he finds his hands full. First he is approached by a horse owner who suspects foul play in regards to promising horses she owns. The last three were highly regarded and were favorites in their last big race. Instead of winning they fell short and later were found to have heart problems. She has another horse that is highly ranked and does not want a repeat of her last three contenders. She wants Sid to look into this and make sure it does not happen again. Yet she does not see Sid much more than a former jockey.
If that is not enough, Sid's ex father in law wants him to help investigate trouble Sid's ex wife has gotten in with a conman who has disappeared. While he is sure Sid can help, his ex wife still berates him.
Finally, one of the horse track board members wants him to investigate one of the security members at the track. There is suspicion that there might be a problem in the security at the track. Does he really expect to find something wrong or is he trying to divert attention elsewhere?
There is a lot going on in this book and sometimes it seemed there might be toooooo much going on. But this book was hard for me to put down and it was not just because I needed to have it read for our discussion group.
So how did our discussion group feel about it? There were six members present tonight and the vote was four thumbs up (with one wavering) and two thumbs down. Some of the other members had read the author before and said it was typical Dick Francis style. Would I be willing to give the author another try? Perhaps - we shall see. I understand his son is now writing the books since Dick Francis passed away.
In case you are wondering, Dick Francis was once a horse jockey and he has written a lot of mystery books around the horse racing industries. Kind of goes with the adage - you should write about what you know.