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.
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap