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Whip Hand by Dick Francis
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Whip Hand (1979)

by Dick Francis

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I like almost anything written by Dick Francis, but this is one of his best. If you are not familiar with his books, Dick Francis writes mysteries that involve English horse racing, generally from a jockey's perspective, and always bring in information about some other profession. They are always well-researched and well-written. The male characters are usually very complete. They are usually all separate books (not a continuing series) but Sid Halley, this book's main character, is a repeat and a great protagonist.
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  400mom | Nov 23, 2016 |
I like Dick Francis. A reliable and enjoyable read. English horse racing. (Always listen for the voices.) This one about Sid Haley. Ex-jockey (because he lost his hand). Figuring out what's wrong with racing. . . What not to like. ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
This novel introduced Sid Halley, a former jockey who had been injured in a bad fall which resulted in him losing one of his hands. Following his enforced retirement from racing Halley had established himself as a private detective taking small investigations into different aspects of the horse racing world. He soon finds himself embroiled in something rather more serious.

As always, Francis makes the racing world come alive. It is a sphere about which i am wholly ignorant, but Francis has a great facility for making it all seem immensely familiar ad plausible. I don't think that this has aged well - the attitudes and platitiudes are a little too redolent of the 1970s, but it was still very enjoyable. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jan 16, 2014 |
This is the second book in the Sid Halley series and won the Edgar in 1981 for best novel.. Here Sid, the former champion jockey, is asked to investigate the possibility of doping and phoney racing syndicates after 3 promising horses from the same stable finish last in important races. Francis' knowledgte of racing, he was a former jockey himself, good writing, a twisting plot and interesting characters make it a good read. ( )
  clue | Jul 21, 2013 |
I've now read twenty-eight of the Edgar Best Novel Award winners, and one thing I've noticed is that the selection committee seems to favor the stand-alone novel over the series entry. Out of the 28 there have been 17 stand-alones as against 11 series novels (one of which, Ed Lacy's ROOM TO SWING, probably shouldn 't count as it did not become part of a two-book series until several years after the award). After what seemed like a zillion international thrillers all in a row, it was fun to read Dick Francis's series book, WHIP HAND, and to know that there are three more books in the Sid Halley series for me to enjoy.

WHIP HAND is the series' second book, continuing the story of Sid Halley, an ex-jockey turned PI with an artificial left hand. With the help of his judo-instructor friend Chico Barnes, Halley investigates primarily racing-related questions, at least in this book. However, he also goes after a conman who has involved Halley's ex-wife in a scheme that might send her to prison if the true perpetrator isn't found. By the end of the book, Halley has not only solved all the mysteries, but has learned a good deal about himself.

WHIP HAND is told in the first person by Halley. A lot of people don't like this POV and even say they won't read a book that uses it. I can't really imagine this book told any other way being as effective as it was. We learn so much about Halley's psyche that helps to illumine the character changes he goes through during the course of the book. Having the story told in third-person omniscient, for example, would just not be as powerful. I did find it difficult to read the portions in which violence is directed at the narrator, but they too were necessary to show the character's feelings.

As this is only the second Dick Francis book I've read, I'm still learning some of the ins and outs of British horseracing. I'm happy that Francis is so good at slipping bits of information into the story without stopping the flow of the plot. I expect I'll know a lot more before I'm done reading Francis. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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I took the battery out of my arm and fed it into the recharger, and only realized I'd done it when ten seconds later the fingers wouldn't work.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The protagonist Sid Halley is an ex-jockey turned detective who lost his left hand due to an earlier racing accident and subsequent beating by thugs. He is approached by Rosemary Caspar, a trainer's wife, to look into problems at her husband's racing stables. Horses which did extremely well as two-year olds are unexpectedly failing as three year olds. In addition, Sid Halley's ex-father-in-law, Charles, asks Sid to try and find a man who has conned Sid's ex-wife Jenny and left her facing a possible jail sentence over a fake charity. Sid is also approached by both Lord Friarly, a racehorse owner and syndicate member, and Lucas Wainwright, the head of the security service at the Jockey Club, to look into certain syndicates and how they got through the Jockey Club's checking process.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425203549, Mass Market Paperback)

Sid Halley's glory days as a jockey are over, but he still finds a certain satisfaction in successfully solving a case. His latest one, though, could prove to be his undoing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Ex-jockey Sid Halley is now a crack private investigator and, checking out the mysterious failings of Rosemary Caspar's husband's horses, finds himself with a major expose involving a menacing syndicate, his ex-wife's boyfriend, and other unsavory characters"--NoveList.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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