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The Edge by Dick Francis

The Edge (1988)

by Dick Francis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,299169,279 (3.93)26
  1. 01
    The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: Trans-continental train journeys full of railway atmosphere. The Edge has more suspense, while The Christmas Train is light and cheerful.

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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
The Edge doesn't have as much action along the tracks and courses as many of the books Francis writes. Most of it isn't set in England, but in Canada on a special racing excursion train that is also a train running one of the mystery adventures with actors. I found it interesting to see behind the scenes for both the train crew (mostly the wait staff) and the actors. And of course there is a real-life mystery -- just what foul deed is rich sociopath Filmer planning. Can our hero Tor Kelsey thwart that plan? I read the book quickly as I wanted to know the answers.

In some ways, the theme in this book is summed up in this quotation: What made one man good, I wondered, and another man bad: one man to seek to build, the other to frighten and destroy. The acid irony was that the bad might feel more satisfied and fulfilled than the good.

If you like mysteries that have horse racing as an integral part of the story, Dick Francis should be right up your avenue. If you also like mysteries that take place on trains, then The Edge should be your cup of tea. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jun 17, 2018 |
I enjoy all of the books by Dick Francis and have read almost all of them. This one involves a cross-Canadian train ride and there is so much interesting information about the "downstairs" part of train travel. ( )
  400mom | Nov 23, 2016 |
An arrogant horse-owner in England joins The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train across Canada, with the train stopping at several sites along the way for horseraces, with an actors troupe on the train posing as real passengers.
Francis is a master at moving players around in the story and having them interact in interesting ways. His descriptive prose, and his keep-it-simple style, make it easy to both imagine the scene and understand the characters. The sports element is there, as it is in all of Francis' books, but he again shows his mastery in leaving it as the backdrop against all the other characters' interactions.
The overall feel of the book is that similar to a play or film with an ensemble cast -- no one is really well done, but most are sufficiently interesting to hold our attention for awhile. Some characters are still left hiding in the background as mere caricatures. As for the villain and the protagonist, both needed to be better developed, and I never felt the villain was particularly evil nor the protagonist particularly interesting -- too much on actions and not enough of his own thoughts to reveal his true character. Unfortunately, I also figured out the plot fairly early, although there was one character at the end who was slightly different than expected. I also saw three or four points in the story where Francis could have easily taken the reader down a darker or more interesting path, yet the opportunities were left abandoned alongside the tracks in the story.
Another good mystery from Francis
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him / her on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Mar 20, 2016 |
Very fun. Richard and Mary keep all their balls in the air. Great to be back on the train in late 1970s Canada, as well. ( )
  thesmellofbooks | Feb 19, 2016 |
I am starting to like Dick Francis as a writer. This is my third book and I will read many more.

To be honest, I chose this book because of the cover. I come from a railway family and a story about a mystery where travel across Canada on the "Canadian" was too much to resist. Actually it was on a train similar to the Canadian except it was a private train for horse owners. I recognized the CPR diesel on the front cover and when I saw that there was to be a race at Assiniboia Downs in my home town of Winnipeg... I had to read it.

Actually the book as far as description of the journey was reasonably accurate. He did not go into great detail of the places but added just enough snippets to make it real to me. Also life on a Via Train was well done.

As a mystery goes, it was confusing to me as to what the reason was for the shadowing of the main bad guy. You don't find out until the last 1/4 of the book and that is the reason for the lower rating. I do like his character development though the constant "eh" in the language of the conductor was a bit over the top. I am Canadian and while it is commonly part of our language... it is not in every second sentence :)

Overall it was a decent read. ( )
1 vote Lynxear | Jul 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Tor Kelsey is assigned to protect both the horses and the passengers. Kelsey joins the staff, using the invisibility of his waiter's uniform, to keep an eye on Filmer, hoping to prevent any acts of sabotage. No easy task. A series of near misses keeps the story moving, along with the shenanigans of a ''murder mystery'' being enacted en route, which are cleverly incorporated into the plot. He not only evokes the seduction of traveling by train but, as usual, he manages to convey his abiding affection for the racing game itself.
Once upon a time there was an ex-jockey named Dick Francis who wrote taut, fresh action-mysteries about racing (Dead Cert, Nerve, Forfeit, Bonecrack, etc.). For the past ten years or so, however, his fame has grown while his work has gotten ragged, strained, unreliable. And this new adventure--a formula train-thriller that's short on races, and virtually devoid of mystery--may well be Francis' weakest book yet. Bland narrator-hero Tor Kelsey is a millionaire but, for fun, works as a security-agent for the British Jockey Club. Most recently, he's been on the trail of sleek villain Julius Filmer, who's guilty of extortion and murder--but always manages to walk away scot-free. Then the Jockey Club learns that Filmer has booked passage on "The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train," a Canadian PR event that combines a posh rail-ride with special races and a silly "murder game" (complete with hired actors) along the way. What dastardly evil does Filmer have in mind? No one is sure. But young Tor goes undercover--just in case--as a waiter/actor. From Toronto to Vancouver, he watches as Filmer cozies up to a matronly (but shady) Thoroughbred-owner, and to the super-wealthy Lorrimore family. Blackmail, it would seem, is in the air--as is sabotage: all the familiar railroad cliffhangers are played out, halfheartedly. Some of the horses on board may also be in danger. And eventually, after some minor derring-do, Tor foils the foul Filmer at last--and uncovers the truth about the Lorrimore clan's truly ludicrous Deep Dark Secret. Lumpily padded, thinly plotted: a thoroughgoing disappointment for Francis fans--and not much fun even for fanciers of the luxury-train-in-jeopardy genre.
added by MsMixte | editKirkus Review (Jan 15, 1988)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dick Francisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rantanen, AulisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was following Derry Welfram at a prudent fifty paces when he stumbled, fell face down on the wet tarmac and lay still.
Thought before action, if you have time
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This is the main work for The Edge by Dick Francis. DO NOT combine with any adaptation, abridgement, omnibus containing additional works, etc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425204391, Mass Market Paperback)

A high-class, transcontinental horse-racing junket should be an idyllic getaway for the super-rich.

But one passenger on this train is a sociopath, a genius at blackmail and criminal corruption—and he plans to take everyone for everything they've got.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:18 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Tor Kelsey, a young undercover security operative for the British Jockey Club, is assigned to thwart a scheme hatched by a sociopathic underworld figure and to protect guests on The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train, a railway and horse racing junket, from murder and mayhem. Reprint.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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