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Field of Thirteen: Short Stories by Dick…
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Field of Thirteen: Short Stories (edition 1998)

by Dick Francis

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1,0391712,209 (3.56)15
Member:wimstu
Title:Field of Thirteen: Short Stories
Authors:Dick Francis
Info:Michael Joseph Ltd (1998), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Fiction, Crime

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Field of Thirteen by Dick Francis

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Most of Dick Francis' mysteries set in or around the sport of horseracing were full-length novels, but he did occasionally write short stories for publication in various magazines. This is a collection of 13 of those, written at various times and for various publications. Francis added short header notes to each story giving a little of the background or inspiration, or indicating when something had been updated. Generally speaking, they range from okay to good, but I still prefer his longer works.

My brief notes on each:

Raid at Kingdom Hill — A seemingly straightforward tale of villainy through a bomb threat at a racecourse turns twisty as all sorts of people look to cash in.

Dead on Red — A professional assassin goes to the races.

Song for Mona — The meek may not inherit the earth, but sometimes they get their revenge.

Bright White Star — A trainer, a tramp, and a tale of "what goes 'round, comes round'.

Collision Course — Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel.

Nightmare — Crime pays just fine most of the time, but once in a while the good guys win one.

Carrot for a Chestnut — A chain of conspiracy is only as strong as its weakest link.

The Gift — An alcoholic sportswriter gets the tip of a lifetime at the Kentucky Derby — if only he can stay sober enough to write it.

Spring Fever — An older woman's crush on her young jockey is paid back with treachery.

Blind Chance — Sometimes you don't have to watch the ponies run to know who wins.

Corkscrew — Drawing straight with crooked lines is sometimes the only way for justice to be served.

The Day of the Losers — Racing is full of winners and losers, and they aren't always who they seem to be.

Haig's Death — The butterfly effect plays out at the racecourse. ( )
  rosalita | Sep 24, 2018 |
I abandoned the book half-way through, because unfortunately I really don't like short stories very much. The 7 that I read were good as short stories go. I read Dick Francis novels many years ago and enjoyed them, so I decided to give these stories a try. This book deserves an explanation of why someone would drop it, so there you have it. Good writing and stories, but just too short for me. I should have known better. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
Thought the first story was very poor and stopped reading. Liked his novels, though.
  thesmellofbooks | May 11, 2017 |
I've read all of Dick Francis so I know I've read this before but it was a good book to listen to on audio as it is short stories. And I'd forgotten them all so the repeat was no problem. Very enjoyable. ( )
  infjsarah | May 14, 2016 |
PLOT OR PREMISE:
A collection of thirteen short stories, eight of which were published previously in various magazines.
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WHAT I LIKED:
"- Dead on Red - A contract killer kills a jockey for another jockey, but the results are not quite what the surviving jockey had desired. (4.00/5.00)
- Song for Mona - A snobbish daughter is ashamed of her mother's life and history while others find her charming and praise her. (4.00/5.00)
- Collision Course - An editor loses his job and runs into snobs who won't let him park his boat at their restaurant while he has dinner with three publishers. Turns out the owner is a up-and-comer who needs to win an upcoming race in order to attract horses to his farm. An interesting battle develops. (4.00/5.00)
- Carrot for a Chestnut - Fixing a race by doping the horse with a doctored carrot. With a great twist at the end. (3.50/5.00)
- Blind Chance - A man has a perfect way to know the outcomes of photo-finish races, and to make money on it. Until disaster strikes. (4.00/5.00)
- Corkscrew - An honest man is charged with a crime and his lawyer swindles his parents out of the bail money. He doesn't count on the road to justice being somewhat long and windy. (3.75/5.00)
- The Day of the Losers -- Money from an old robbery is the glue that holds this story together as the police attempt to fix a race in order to catch a crook. There are twists all around at the end. (3.50/5.00)
- Haig's Death - All the people who have their fates resting on the outcome of a race are all affected when the decision falls to the judge, whose fate has already been decided. Multiple storylines all leading to a combined finish. (3.50/5.00)"
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
"- Raid at Kingdom Hill - A bomb scare at the racetrack, and money goes missing during the chaos. (2.00/5.00)
- Bright White Star - The theft of a horse from an auction and a wandering tramp who is displaced from his home on the land...includes a great set-up/intro though -- ""Write us a story,"" they said. I asked, ""What about?"" ""About three thousand words,"" they replied. (2.00/5.00)
- Nightmare - A horse thief is running from his past where his father was killed during a theft. (2.50/5.00)
- The Gift - A down-and-out alcoholic journalist finds the horseracing story of the century, but may be too drunk to write it. (2.00/5.00)
- Spring Fever - A woman falls in love with her jockey and is taken advantage of, at first. (2.50/5.00)"
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BOTTOM-LINE:
An average Francis collection
.
DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I was not personal friends with the author, nor did I follow him on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Feb 18, 2016 |
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My thanks to a whole host of researchers:

MARY
MERRICK . . FELIX
JOCELYN
ANDREW
JEFFREY . . JENNY
LAWYERS GALORE
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Tell me a story, and tell it strong and quick.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039914434X, Hardcover)

This first collection of short stories by Dick Francis (author of 10 Lb. Penalty and more than 30 other horseracing mysteries) pulls together five new tales with eight that have appeared scattered in periodicals over the last three decades. One of the pleasures of his stories is witnessing the breadth and variety within Francis's racetrack milieu. In "Dead on Red," a jealous jockey named Davey Rockman hires Emil Jacques, a French assassin and gun collector, to kill the famed rider who stole his job; but Rockman is haunted by his deed much in the same way as is the protagonist in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." "Raid at Kingdom Hill" tells of Tricksy Wilcox's scheme for a not-so-bright bomb scare, a plan that still might yield the payoff of a lifetime. "Collision Course" is free of murder but frames a delightful conflict between an out-of-work newspaperman and a bounder whose faux manners threaten to bring him down at the peak of his racing syndicate career. The Kentucky Derby story, "The Gift," follows Fred Collyer, a drunken writer who overhears plans for a major racing swindle and struggles against alcohol to publish the story by his deadline. And the collection ends with a what-if story called "Haig's Death" that examines the consequences of the sudden passing of Christopher Haig, an animal feed consultant and race-meeting judge.

Poe, who most historians of literature credit as the creator of the short story, declared that a good short story should have nothing extraneous. Francis's stories, for the most part, obey Poe's dictum. Each character and description fits tightly into an unfolding plan so that the mystery or twist is revealed with a satisfying economy of words. While Field of 13 will appeal to Francis loyalists, newcomers, too, will find much to relish in the short fiction of this mystery grand master. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:36 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Thirteen stories on horse racing. In Blind Chance, a blind boy discovers a scheme by crooks to rig bets, while in Carrot for a Chestnut, life punishes a jockey who drugs his horse.

(summary from another edition)

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