Review: Sid Halley was once one of the best jockeys in England. But a horrifying accident ended his celebrated career, after which he became a private investigator. But after six years of field work, he gave it up for something quieter, an investment advisor, which allowed him time to spend with his second wife and daughter in their Oxfordshire country home. But now the chairman of the British Racing Authority needs his help in Refusal, the fifth mystery to feature this character, originally created by Dick Francis and now continued by his son Felix Francis.
Sir Richard Stewart believes that someone is manipulating the results of races and Sid's insider knowledge is just what is needed to sort it out. Sid refuses to get materially involved but does agree to accept some paperwork to look at. The next morning Sir Richard is found dead of a suicide … or so it appears. Sid then receives a call from someone demanding that he refute Sir Richard's assertions; Sid refuses to do that, as well. But when the unknown caller arranges for Sid to be beaten and his family threatened, he agrees to get involved … but separately begins his own investigation into if races were being manipulated and if so, how and by whom.
Refusal is an intriguing story set in the world of horse racing. Sid Halley is a principled man, unyielding when he believes he is right but willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt when he's unsure himself. The credibility of the characters extends to the villains as well, who seem to be an equal match for Sid. How he diffuses the threats to his family and resolves the quandary he's in is really the core of this well structured, quite exciting mystery that is enthusiastically recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Refusal.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Refusal for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Refusal: England
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Refusal by Felix Francis — A Sid Halley Mystery
Publication Date: September 2013
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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