Ahhhh… a good old fashioned who-done-it in the traditional style by a master, one of Dick Francis’ last novels. I just picked it up on a whim seeing as what I’d tentatively planned to read either wasn’t quite on the market yet or had received less-than-stellar reviews. I won. 🙂
To the Hilt
by Dick Francis
1996 / 351 pages
read by Simon Prebble
rating: A / mystery (who done it)
This is a nice slow-moving mystery in which no one dies until about half-way through. But the set-up involves Alexander Kinloch, our protagonist and an artist who happily lives in Scotland near his uncle, an earl.
His mother, widowed and remarried some years prior. Her husband is the owner of a prosperous brewery, or it was until it’s found out that someone has been skimming some money, embezzling, or something. The long-term controller is missing. This probably set off the heart attack.
Mom pleads for Alexander to come and help, but before he leaves he is attacked in his little place in Scotland by four thugs who harangue him rather cryptically, “Where is it?”
When he gets to England he finds things in disarray and his step-sister and her husband are deeply suspicious of his presence. He’s not getting well, he knows something about the state of things and he wants Andrew Kinloch to sort it out. The will and its codicils are of paramount importance.
Horses are included, this is Dick Francis of course, but not a mainstay of the plot. Francis was a jockey until he was injured and took to writing crime novels and a hallmark of the whole series is the racing theme.
It’s a good book to start Dick Francis with. I’ve read his books on and off for many years. Never a poor one and they’re not in any particular order.