➩ Reflex Ebook ➯ Author Dick Francis – Manifest-money.info

Reflex One of my favorite Dick Francis stories.There are two scenes that I particularly enjoyed the first was when Phillip Nore makes a gift of a candid photo of fellow amateur photographer George Millace to George s widow, and finds himself overwhelmed by her emotional reaction of joyful gratitude the second is when he discovers the Price George had demanded from his blackmail victims Phillip then decides to demand the same price from George s killer. I always enjoy reading a good Dick Francis novel Phillip Nore in this one is a really good character They are pretty clean, the language isn t too bad, and not a lot of sex Sometimes I even reread the books, because it s like being with a friend you haven t seen in several years I really enjoy the characters he uses, and also enjoy the series he writes about too I m not a gambler, but I really enjoy watching them live, as well as on screen There is a certain excitement that I don t find I always enjoy reading a good Dick Francis novel Phillip Nore in this one is a really good character They are pretty clean, the language isn t too bad, and not a lot of sex Sometimes I even reread the books, because it s like being with a friend you haven t seen in several years I really enjoy the characters he uses, and also enjoy the series he writes about too I m not a gambler, but I really enjoy watching them live, as well as on screen There is a certain excitement that I don t find in many other places I ve said it before and here I am saying it again nobody writes candy mysteries like Francis His protagonists are likable, the villains appropriately dislikable, and you always learn something The formula is simple and consistently adhered to, but the books are not the worse for it This is a fine example of the form.The formula is pretty simple The genial and easygoing 30ish hero stumbles onto dark conspiracies in the racing world He s beaten up, but bravely faces down the villains He nar I ve said it before and here I am saying it again nobody writes candy mysteries like Francis His protagonists are likable, the villains appropriately dislikable, and you always learn something The formula is simple and consistently adhered to, but the books are not the worse for it This is a fine example of the form.The formula is pretty simple The genial and easygoing 30ish hero stumbles onto dark conspiracies in the racing world He s beaten up, but bravely faces down the villains He narrowly escapes, bringing down their plot and winning a girl at the same time The occupation and conspiracy vary from novel to novel, but always there s a new bit of insider knowledge that helps lend the novel a ring of authenticity the chemistry of photography, magnetic tapes from computers, the complexities of flying by instruments.I ve read them all at least three times and, while the names don t stick in my head, I get a flash of the protagonist, the villain, the occupation, and maybe the set piece battle by the end of the first page Oh right, the photographer There s coloured smudges and bizarre developing chemicals, and blackmail This time, though, I set out to study the craft of the book What words does Francis use to paint a scene Why those words What patterns can I detect My notes comprise the rest of this review I doubt they ll surprise anyone who s studied literature or been a fiction writer, but it s all been eye opening to me.I began paying attention to sentence length It varies, as it should lots of sentences the same length and structure are dull He s fond of stitching short observations together into a longer sentence Here s the opening paragraph Winded and coughing, I lay on one elbow and spat out a mouthful of grass and mud The horse I d been riding raised its weight off my ankle, scrambled untidily to its feet and departed at an unfeeling gallop I waited for things to settle chest heaving, bones still rattling from the bang, sense of balance recovering from a thirty mile an hour somersault and a few tumbling rolls No harm done Nothing broken Just another fall.Lots of small observations, but only a few short sentences Generally he finds ways to string the short observations into longer sentences He soared around the whole thing with bursting joie de vivre, even to the extent of passing the favorite on the run in, and we came back to bear hugs from the blue hair for the benefit of television and an offer to me of a spare ride in the fifth race, from a worried looking small time trainer.The and and and throughout the book generates the sense of a relaxed and informal description of the story, even as the word choice and grammar indicate careful and mature writing.I noticed the characteristic Francis descriptions of the hero s reactions to provocation flatly , mildly , calmly.You construct a sentence with a colourful words, which tell the story, and essential filler words The story is told by the adjectives, nouns, and verbs that leap out of the page at you soared bursting joie de vivre passing favourite bear hugs blue hair worried small time trainer The rest of it is there because it has to be formal English, to fully specify meaning, to permit variations in sentence structure and length But the story is brought to life by the selection of those colour words Loved it The technical photography info was fascinating For the times, Francis s writing on homosexuality was humane and civilized The treatment of a muted emotional life as a result of childhood damage was beautifully done Overall, one gets an impression of Francis as an enormously warm, thoughtful, compassionate human being No, I don t think the wife wrote the books I do think she wrote the really awful posthumous short stories, though Timeline, peoples Logic What I like best about Francis early work is that quite aside from the mystery angle, they are stories Good stories, well told, well plotted, with decent use of the language They don t depend too heavily on someone explaining the whole deal while we follow the main character s thought processes, we also follow him as he goes through the labyrinth that reveals the plot We are shown, not told Hallelujah Also, the characters both good and bad are people with foibles, weaknesses and strong p What I like best about Francis early work is that quite aside from the mystery angle, they are stories Good stories, well told, well plotted, with decent use of the language They don t depend too heavily on someone explaining the whole deal while we follow the main character s thought processes, we also follow him as he goes through the labyrinth that reveals the plot We are shown, not told Hallelujah Also, the characters both good and bad are people with foibles, weaknesses and strong points Even some of the killers aren t bad to the bone , though on Planet Francis at least so far in my rereading they must of course be mentally deranged to even consider killing Quite a lot of the MC s elucubrations are on the nature of true justice, and if it is actually served by destroying the lives of innocent bystanders in an attempt to reveal the facts.Phillip Nore is naturally a jump jockey, and we are treated to a visit to the world of racing, which is the reason a large chunk of his fanbase bought and devoured his books from the very beginning The best people in the right clothes doing the right thing mostly Oh those green socks the arriviste wears He can t help getting it ever so slightly wrong, because it s not in his breeding Blood will out The too large jockey who starves himself on cheese and tomatoes and black tea, which must be to save calories so he can drink Coke and champagne not together, I might add with his trainer or his friends Nore is also an amateur photographer as was Mrs Francis whose hobby leads to some very unexpected developments I have to say I spotted the killer about time said person made an appearance, and was furlongs ahead of the jockey throughout, but it s to the author s credit that the fact took nothing away from the reading experience I realised halfway through that I had read this book sometime in the 1980s, but remembered nothing about it except the scene where Nore sits down in a basket chair and is recognised by an old acquaintance He s also a commitment phobic who sees himself as a drifter who just goes with the flow but he can t resist a good puzzle, and he can t restrain himself from righting wrongs, even if it puts him on a par with the man he despises.Reading with hindsight, I realised that the ten quid Nore offers for some information would be tantamount to 50 pounds in today s money quite a lot for a ten year old child, and even for some of us adults It was strange to read that he classes cocaine with marijuana in his own mind as not deadly compared to heroin This was, of course, before we learned better, when cocaine was the party drug of choice among those who had too much money I wondered also if I had been handed a US release or perhaps a re release copy, as at one point Philip mentions fuck ups quite in passing I doubt very much that either of the Francises would have considered using that word no matter which of the couple you think actually wrote the mysteries even in 1980 Cock ups quite possibly, but the F word would definitely have been infra dig.All in all, still a cracking good read that stood the test of time That England is gone, if it ever existed, but hey that s why we read fiction What is there to say about Dick Francis As I think about all of his books yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I ve read them all I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society either directly or indirectly The heroes aren t always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world.Buttha What is there to say about Dick Francis As I think about all of his books yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I ve read them all I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society either directly or indirectly The heroes aren t always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world.Butthan that, Francis s heroes are rational human beings The choices made are rational choices directed by a firm objective philosophy that belies all of Francis s novels The dialogue is clear and touched with humor no matter the intensity of evil that the hero faces The hero s thoughts reveal a vulnerability that is touching, while his actions are always based on doing the right thing to achieve justice Causing the reader to deeply care about the characters in a novel is a difficult thing to do No such worries in a Francis novel The point of view is first person, you are the main character as you read the story usually the character of Mr Douglas The hero is personable, like able, non violent but delivering swift justice with his mind rather than through physical means This is not to say that violence is a stranger to our hero Some of it staggering and often delivered by what we would think of normal persons living in British society.You will come to love the world of Steeple Chase racing, you will grow a fondness for horses, stables, trainers and the people who live in that world You will read the books, devouring one after the other and trust me Dick Francis has a lot of novels over 40 by my last count.There are several series woven into the fabric of Francis s work notably the Sid Halley and Kit Fielding series.Assessment Dick Francis is one of my favorite writers I read his books with a fierce hunger that remains insatiable and I mourn his death I ve read all but one of Dick Francis books Starting eons ago when I was but a mere kitten, and ending at some point in the 21st century after his wife s death when Francis son Felix started helping his papa write the books At some point in time I became aware of Dick noting in some interview or another that his books had been co written affairs with his wife And there is a definite difference between those books written prior to the wife s death, during Francis supposed solo writing career I ve read all but one of Dick Francis books Starting eons ago when I was but a mere kitten, and ending at some point in the 21st century after his wife s death when Francis son Felix started helping his papa write the books At some point in time I became aware of Dick noting in some interview or another that his books had been co written affairs with his wife And there is a definite difference between those books written prior to the wife s death, during Francis supposed solo writing career, then when Felix stepped in to help I m not actually sure if there actually was a middle part there, the solo part I mean But all of that is beside the point this is solidly within the time period when the book was a co writing production utilizing both Dick and Dick s wife s, Mary, writing abilities I am Richard, Mary was Mary, and Dick Francis was the two of us together Another little point to note before I move on to the book itself At some point I noticed, after reading about 90% of the Francis work, that I d rated all of the books a good solid 4.5 stars without any falling an inch below or above that line Whereupon I realized I d fallen into a trap that can open up I expect a certain rating to appear on what I read, the book was solid enough, so I rated it that rating After I realized that the ratings for the final 10% of the books rarely reached 4.5 star level Which I mention because the first time I read this book I rated it 4.5 stars, but I ve no clue if I really thought it deserved that rating.Right, so Common theme here Amateur detective type trying to live his life here named Philip Nore , is uprooted from his comfortable enough rut to face several mysteries, and several beatings both by horse and by thugs Francis seemed to have loved to beat up his characters through both methods.Here we find Philip Nore, at or slightly above the age of 30 Jockey, kinda of tall to be a jokey, but still, a jockey He has drifted through life, letting whatever would happen happen, without much fuss made by him Driven into that type of personality because of his childhood of which he had none or at least not the norm mother would drop him of with friends for a few days , that would last weeks, months, and sometimes years and he didn t have much in the way of formal school training He s had some wins on the horse, and some losses some of these losses were forced losses, but he doesn t really like doing that kind of thingbluntly he s been forced, here or there, to throw races That throwing races isn t really the main plotline here, though an important issue, just not the source of the mysteries.Nore works lazily at unraveling two mysteries 1 the grandmother he never met before wishes for him to hunt down the half sister he never knew he had he kind of boredly looks around but doesn t want to help the witch the grandmother being the witch, not the half sister 2 a great, though not exactly much beloved, race photographer has died and left his reject box behind to be inherited by Nore Nore is was friends with the man s son while helping the son he came across said box and asked if he could take it with him the box was filled with overexposed negatives, and the like rejects The second mystery involves examining these rejects and fixing them.A third mystery develops relatively quickly Nore likes solving puzzles, and doesn t really think the common mistakes that are in the photographer s box of reminders are anything special, certainly nothing a good photographer would keep as reminders So he investigates the mistakes and finds that they are actually well concealed photographs and photographs of letters Of adark nature ETA Right, sorry, this above paragraph reads like it should be the second mystery, no Second mystery involves figuring out how to fix the ruined negatives so that images pictures letters would appear Third mystery involveswas George a blackmailer Whereupon I note that the book description is rubbish At least the one for this specific edition if the others are different, I do not care enough to look Longtime jockey Philip Nore suspects that a racetrack photographer s fatal accident was really murder No he doesn t Late in the book someone makes some comment about how George s I think the photographer s name was George accident might not have been an accident Before that Nore suspected nothing about the accident being murder Nothing And after the comment he waswellhuhpossibly not OMG YES MURDER Right, so Nore wanders around riding horses Takes photos examines a different photographer s photos falls into a romance by sheer accident falls into a possible new career similarly by accident solves a couple of mysteries.Of note Now that I ve read the book for a second time I ll note a few things Rereading this book reminds me that Francis main character in his books tended to be kind of rather depressing types the Dick Francis team did write some interesting books, but not at a high level like I d recalled Oh, and, I m not sure I noticed the oddly rather okay view of homosexual relationships that is on display in this book I mean by everyone but for the grandmother Two of the people who raised Philip is remembered quite fondly by Philip they were a gay couple and another gay couple turns up they seem okay ish people Which is interesting when I hadn t recalled Francis including such characters in book and this one is from 1980 Don t, by the way, go into this book to read happy gay couples because of the words I use above neither couple is exactly happy one read like those relationships I read in lesbian pulp from the 1950s 1960s though here, this book, involving men while the other relationship was muchhappy but neither relationship was examined in any depth and none of the gay characters have significant roles in the book.I got side tracked.Good enough book Nothing near what I probably originally rated the book, 4.5, but good enough book Rating 3.5July 1 2019 Reflex by Dick Francis is a camera lens term, so add that to the standard jockey hero, whose natural passivity is activated by honest integrity, and asserts justice without officialdom Narrator Philip Nore 30, was abandoned just till Saturday by his mother Caroline, dead from heroin addiction, to be raised by a series of friends Samantha he tracks down Charlie taught him photography and willed his equipment Helping injured rider Steve Millace with his crashed dead dad George s negatives Reflex by Dick Francis is a camera lens term, so add that to the standard jockey hero, whose natural passivity is activated by honest integrity, and asserts justice without officialdom Narrator Philip Nore 30, was abandoned just till Saturday by his mother Caroline, dead from heroin addiction, to be raised by a series of friends Samantha he tracks down Charlie taught him photography and willed his equipment Helping injured rider Steve Millace with his crashed dead dad George s negatives leads to exposure and developing puzzles, blackmail, beatings on top of corruptly instigated horse falls Earnest solicitor Jeremy Folk 25,intelligent than his fumbling manner lets on, with office coloured skin p6 forwards dying estranged grandmother s request to find hitherto unknown half sister Amanda, and suffers assassination attempt targeted on Nore Break ins, burglary, arson, blackmail Total surprise only after do I remember I read this before are the alternate suggestions , hidden for hundreds of pages p350 Bruises, blood, danger and suspense Nore finds kind welcoming Samantha and her lovely lively daughter Clare It began in friendship and progressed to passion Ended in bretathlessness and laughter, sank to murmurs and sleep The best it had ever been for me p431 Second run A tingling, fierce, gentle, intense, turbulent time p433 Overall, from feelings of familiar comfort to coming home Adult content does not have to be explicit or crude my x rated.Francis has a knack for conveying sophisticated technical information easily, unique turn of phrase description, dropping hints, stringing along A man s photograph is identified, but 17 pages till we learn the villain p452 The author is an expert director of character and action We cheer for growing demonstrations of Nore s heroism One thing my haphazard upbringing had given me was an almost limitless capacity for waiting Waiting for people to come, who didn t and for promises to be fulfilled, that weren t p13 Survival for so many years had been a matter of accepting what I was given I had taught myself for so long not to want things that weren t offered to me that I now found very little to want p58 Doing nothing was weak and wrong If I learned all George s secrets I would have to accept the moral burden of deciding what to do about them and doing it p288Typo p396 He won t did for die Warning Fanboy rating I ve been reading and re reading the novels of Dick Francis since the early 1990 s and I m hardly objective when it comes to judging their worth I am aware that many critics consider him a one trick pony who somehow stumbled over a succesful formula for writing murder mysteries set in and around the racing world, and then applied rinse and repeat for about fortynovels written in the same manner, with the same type of characters and the same type of plot Yet Warning Fanboy rating I ve been reading and re reading the novels of Dick Francis since the early 1990 s and I m hardly objective when it comes to judging their worth I am aware that many critics consider him a one trick pony who somehow stumbled over a succesful formula for writing murder mysteries set in and around the racing world, and then applied rinse and repeat for about fortynovels written in the same manner, with the same type of characters and the same type of plot Yet for me they arecomfort reads than guilty pleasure, as sure a thing to pick me up when I m blue as a P G Wodehouse romp through a country manor.My all time favorite remains Whip Hand , which is also the first one I read, before the formula became apparent It s due for a re read, but what I wanted to point out is that Reflex comes very close on the heels of number one in my preferences Francis must have been on a good roll, as I noticed the two books were published in the same year 1981 In support of my rating I make note of there is actual steeplechase racing in the book, as Philip Nore, the protagonist, is still active on the racetrack as an amateur jockey by now Dick Francis became aware that he needed to diversify his set ups with other passions interests and other avenues of investigation into the murders In Reflex this hobby horse is photography, which plays right up into my own interests in the subject the plot is less linear and predictable than usual, as there are multiple avenues of investigation andthan one adversary puzzle to be solved there is a romantic complication, treated as usual with understated intensity and delicacy of touch I m starting to give credit to the rumours that the wife of the author was involved in one form or another in the production of his novels Briefly, the novel starts with Philip Nore being asked to throw off a race by a venal owner with the tacit acceptance of the horse s trainer Simultaneously, Philip tries to help a fellow jockey whose father died recently in a suspicious car crash This man, George Millace, was one of the best racing photographers, a passion that Philip shares as an enthusiast amateur who likes to carry his camera everywhere he goes in the hope he will stumble on a good subject or a good trick of the light The son and widow of Millace are soon dealing with aggravation as their house is burgled first and then set on fire It looks like somebody is looking for damaging images that the dead man was using to blackmail the crooks who can usually be found wherever apparently easy money attract crowds of the general public A third storyline has Philip visiting his terminally ill grandmother and being required to find out a sister he never even knew he had.Philip is everything I have come to expect from a Dick Francis hero a bit of a loner, self reliant and perseverent, whipsmart yet modest, with a strong inner compass about right and wrong, even as he admits that making a living in the racing world sometimes requires compromise He s got a fine sense of humour and an easy, laidback demeanour that makes people underestimate him at their own peril A difficult childhood spent in various improvised foster homes as his teenage mother is chasing drugs and parties at the height of the Flower Power rage, turns Philip in compensation into a seriousminded and independent adult who knows how to find happiness in the simple things in life, like running over fences at breakneck speedMost people think, when they re young, that they re going to the top of their chosen world, and that the climb up is only a formality Without that faith, I suppose, they might never start Somewhere on the way they lift their eyes to the summit and know they aren t going to reach it and happiness then is looking down and enjoying the view they ve got, not envying the one they haven t Philip knows he will never be the best jockey out there, but he is willing to give it his best, for as long as he is allowed to But as he cannot accept to cheat as he is required, he needs a fallback option This may come from the photography that he has until now considered just an expensive hobby This hobby may be turned into a profitable career, or it may terminate his life in a brutal manner, as he accidentally comes in possession of the late George Millace compromising images These photographs are cleverly hidden in plain sight, as underexposed film or junk prints full black or full white, or transparent plastic The quest of Philip to reveal the secret in the throwaway box of the dead photographer was probably the most interesting part of the novel for me, as I had some personal experience with developing film and printing out on paper in my own bathroon laboratory, back before digital made all this stuff obsolete I was also reminded of the movie Blow Up by Michelangelor Antonioni, another story woven around a crime and an investigative photographer Beside the familiarity with the equipment and the techniques, I have also shared in Philip s worries about the prospects of making money from my hobbyEveryone took photographs, every family had a camera, the whole Western world was awash in photographers and to make a living at it one had to be exceptionally good One also had to work exceptionally hard and in another placeI would never be a salesman.Taking photographs for a living, I thought ruefully, would find me starving within a week I think I ll hang on to my day job for a while longerComing back to the novel, the romance when it blooms may be a little abrupt, but again, I know it can happen in this unplanned and often irrational way I could not find it in me to be grumpy or coldly analytical about Philip putting his heart at riskIt began in friendship and progressed to passion Ended in breathlessness and laughter, sank to murmurs and sleep If I were to find something to criticize about the plot, it is the fact that I could spot the bad guys a mile off, another drawback of reading too many of the Francis novels Almost all his fictional bad guys are cast from the same mould, which makes me wonder sometimes if there is any basis in reality, some bully that marked his early years or his later career so strongly that he goes back to the master copy in every book he writesA bully boy on the march, power hungry and complacent, a trampler of little men With this image of the quinetessential bully I come to my last quote, and one of the explanations of the appeal the books of Dick Francis still hold for me he believes in the power of good men and women to stand up and defeat the takers and the violent and the ruthless who believe the world belongs to the wolvesMost people s lives, I thought, weren t a matter of world affairs, but of the problems right beside them Not concerned portentously with saving mankind, but with creating local order in small checks and balances.Neither my life nor George Millace s would ever sway the fate of nations, but our actions could change the lives of individuals and they have done that Recommended to readers as yet unfamiliar with the novels of Dick Francis as a good gateway drug, and to the fans as one of his better offerings Longtime Jockey Philip Nore Suspects That A Racetrack Photographer S Fatal Accident Was Really Murder And Unravels Some Nasty Secrets Of Corruption, Blackmail, And Murder


About the Author: Dick Francis

Dick Francis CBE born Richard Stanley Francis was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.Dick Francis worked on his books with his wife, Mary, before her death Dick considered his wife to be his co writer as he is quoted in the book, The Dick Francis Companion , released in 2003 Mary and I worked as a team I have often said that I would have been happy to have both our names on the cover Mary s family always called me Richard due to having another Dick in the family I am Richard, Mary was Mary, and Dick Francis was the two of us together Series Sid Halley Mystery Kit Fielding Mystery


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