Picks and Pans Review: Reflex
by Dick Francis
Former jockey Francis continues to turn out just about the most satisfying British whodunits going. Once again his hero is a jockey, but he's also an amateur shutterbug. When an unpleasant racing-scene photographer dies in a car crash, the jockey begins to take over his jobs. Then a blackmailer surfaces. Francis understands his characters so well he can have his hero explain that he's never without his camera because "it's your shield. Keeps you a step away from the world, Makes you an observer. Gives you an excuse not to feel." A lot of real photographers might agree with that sentiment, but few could articulate it. Francis also provides a second plot, as elaborate as the first, that has to do with a mean grandmother and a missing heiress. He brings all the threads together and provides the lonely hero with a wonderful bedmate, agent and editor all rolled into one. The races are exciting, the puzzles are original and the villain gets his comeuppance; Francis brings in another winner. (Putnam, $11.95)
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