Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another mystery author gone - Dick Francis by Vivian Zabel





According to the Telegraph, mystery/thriller author Dick Francis, 89, passed away at his home in Grand Cayman today, February 14, 2010.

Francis not only had a successful career at a National Hunt jockey, but he became a best selling author, drawing on his experience and expertise as a jockey. I remember reading one of his books that had a jockey crashed beneath him and thinking, "That sounds so realistic." His descriptions and details were believable because he had lived them.

He wrote 42 thrillers over 40 years and had worldwide sales of over 60 million, according his his obituary.

Quoting from the obituary in the Telegraph: Where other thriller writers probed the darker crannies of the soul, Francis reaffirmed the values of human decency and the struggle between the man of good against the forces of lust for power, dishonesty and greed. Heroes can expect to be chained, beaten, burned or flayed two or three times per book – but good always triumphs in the end.

Dick's beloved wife, Mary, died in 2000, and many rumors have her actually writing the books with his name on the covers. He said he could never have written without her, and that he wished she would allow him to have "by Dick and Mary Francis" on the books. Again from the obituary: "It is not the case that Mary writes the books," claimed her husband. "I do all the stories. I write them out in longhand. She then reads and edits them, because she can manage my handwriting, and I put them into the computer."

Dick Francis is survived by two sons, Merrick and Felix. Felix helped write his father's last four novels. Even Money came out in September and Crossfire is due to be released this autumn.

Good bye, Dick. I, for one, will miss your novels. You gave me a glimpse into another world and allowed me to enjoy it.


Vivian Zabel
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap

8 comments:

Harvee said...

My husband and I, mystery fans, will miss him. I read his first book co-authored with his son Felix and really enjoyed it. Hope his son carries on his writing legacy.

Vivian Zabel said...

I hope Felix can carry on the legacy, but I wonder if he can bring that jockey realism into play as well. We can hope.

Morgan Mandel said...

I'll also miss Dick Francis. He was my first favorite, way back in high school, and continued to be my favorite.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Jean Henry Mead said...

I will certainly miss his books. He's always been a favorite of mine.

Dana Fredsti said...

Dick Francis and Donald E. Westlake were the first male mystery writers I ever read...

Tony Burton said...

Dick Francis wrote the first contemporary mystery novel I ever read, BANKER. Before that I had read Sherlock Holmes and YA "mystery" novels, but BANKER was something totally new to me and pulled me right in. I am now a confirmed Dick Francis fan, and will certainly miss him and his influence on the genre.

Vivian Zabel said...

I believe anyone who has read any of Dick Francis' work will miss his tough, edgy writing. And those who haven't read his novels still have the opportunity.

Vivian Zabel said...

This wasn't the post I had originally planned on having today, the 48th anniversary for my hubby and me.