Why did I love this book?
What is it like to be a jockey? Dick Francis offers a master class in using workplace details to develop characters. Readers bond with his jockeys at a gallop (or sometimes when they’re under galloping hooves). Each book is a feast of information about a different related job. We see the power of stewards and bookies and the racing press, the schemes of fixers, the pride and agonies of owners and trainers, the grievances of lads mucking out stables. We learn about transporting horses, filming them, painting them, investing in them. In Whip Hand, Francis’s lean prose and fast pace establish his jockey-turned-detective's personality and backstory in a single page of prologue. The book holds a special place in my heart because it inspired me to try writing legal mysteries.