Odds Against, by Dick Francis

Sid Halley is a jockey who's had to give up racing following an accident, and has spent following two years working, or rather being employed by, a detective agency. But then a case comes up which he's forced to take an interest in: there appears to be a conspiracy afoot to damage the reputation of Seabury race-course by a group of people who want to gain a majority share interest and then sell it off to property developers.

This started off a bit slow, but once the story got going it was quite compulsive. The finale, with Sid being chased through the deserted race track at night, was especially gripping stuff. I hadn't realised how old the book was, but references to the Beatles and shillings made me check - it was written in 1962. This meant the monetary values seemed comically small - I think the profit that was anticipated on the sale of the land for development was a few hundred thousand pounds.

Prices and pop bands apart, it didn't feel too dated, and there was quite a well done back-story going about public attitudes to disfigurement which wouldn't be out of place in a more contemporary novel. There are two more Sid Halley books, so I'll be reading them as well.

Another one read by Tony Britton, who again was excellent.

Completed : 25-Feb-2005 (audiobook)

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