Dead Heat

Dead Heat by Dick Francis and Felix Francis.  As has often been the case with his more recent books, the focus of Francis’ latest adventure is less on the turf itself and more on one of the peripheral elements that surround the sport of horse racing.  Our first-person narrator, hero, and amateur sleuth this time is Max Moreton, a successful chef at a restaurant in Newmarket, who accepts the position of guest chef for two special events surrounding the first major race of the season.  When the gala dinner results in several cases of food poisoning, seriously threatening the sustainability of his restaurant, and the next day’s lunch ends when a bomb explodes, killing several guests, he concludes that the two might be linked.  Almost as soon as he sets off to find the villain and restore his reputation, attempts are made on his life, causing Moreton to wonder whether anyone can be trusted, even his own staff. 

This is the first title written in co-authorship with his son, though the younger Francis has assisted with research on previous novels in the series.  Breathtaking pacing and depth of research are trademarks of the Francis stories.  For example, in Shattered, readers learn about the art of glass blowing and in Proof, the subject is wine.  In Dead Heat, readers are exposed to the inner workings of the restaurant business, the sport of polo, and professional orchestras as they turn page upon page.

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