Wild Horses, by Dick Francis

Thomas Lyon abandoned a career as a jockey to become a successful film director, and he's now making a movie based on a fictionalised account of an unsolved death that occurred twenty years ago. During the filming, he visits the deathbed of an old friend who, in his confusion, mistakes Thomas for a priest, and offers a mysterious confession. After the old man dies, there are increasingly violent attempts, culminating in murder, to prevent the film from being made, but Thomas is determined not to give up on it.

The book on which the film is based had been critically well-received, and the author is involved in the screenplay, but strongly objects to the changes that Thomas wants to make to create a commercially successful movie. The tension between Thomas and the writer generates much of the early drama in the story.

Although the ostensible story is the uncovering of the mystery, a lot of the interest comes from the detail provided on the making of a feature film, which was interesting and plausible without being over-detailed. And although the film is based around jockeys and trainers, there was a lot less in the book about horsey stuff than I'd expected to find in a Dick Francis novel.

Towards the end the story was a little bit implausible but this didn't really matter, because the flow of the writing made it a pleasure just to listen to.

Tony Britton was the reader and he was excellent. The only quibble I had is that he's obviously quite a lot older than Thomas (who is 30 in the book) and so it rather felt like the story was being told by Thomas in his old age, looking back on events many years ago.

Completed : 05-Jan-2005 (audiobook)

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