When the horse that wins a race gallops in with frothing mouth and popping eyes, what is more natural than to suspect that someone slipped a booster into his oats? With 11 steeplechasers hurtling over the finish line in this pepped up states and all the dope tests conclusively negative, the Earl of October had something of a problem if he wanted to preserve the health of his favorite sport. What he needed was an insider's view of the stables, a planted stable lad with an outer appearance shifty enough to attract the seedier element in the racing world and a nose sharp enough to smell out foul play. What he needed was Daniel Roke.
©1965 Dick Francis; (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
Britton's accent - somewhere between Australian and Cockney - was very well done and added verisimilitude to an important premise of the story.
I found the denoument unexpected but very much in character with the development of the story.
This is one of the earliest Dick Francis stories, and it makes it clear why Francis' books achieved their overnight success. Well worth reading.
This is my favorite Dick Francis book. A good plot with a strong hero, who is treated unfairly by the Earl he is working for, due to the lies his daughter told. But it all works out in the end, and the mystery of how they are getting the horses to run a faster solved. Gripping story line and believable characters.
A vintage Dick Francis, read superbly by the urbane tones of Tony Britton, which will move you along through an engrossing story of Danny Roke who swaps his job as proprietor of an Australian stud farm to work undercover as a stable hand in Yorkshire, Interestingly this is written in the first person and it is a shock to hear the opening read in a Australian accent. But Tony Britton as usual has handled all the voices in the story - male and female - with his usual skill. This story was written in the 1960s and the attitudes may sound strange to our 2011 ears but Dick Francis moves the plot and the characters along swiftly and surely to keep you engrossed to the end.
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