Picks and Pans Review: Banker
by Dick Francis
The 24th murder mystery by the former steeplechase jockey is as smooth and satisfying as all the others. His hero is a young banker in a big London firm that arranges loans for municipal sewer systems and such, but which also takes an occasional investment flier. The firm's most imaginative venture is the loan of five million pounds to a man who runs a Thoroughbred breeding stable. He wants to buy a champion stallion and move into the big time. As always in a Francis novel, there are a lot of interesting racetrack types: a charismatic healer who says he makes sick horses well by the laying on of hands; a woman who is an expert on Thoroughbred breeding and swigs whiskey; a pretty young girl who has grown up around horses and has a strong bond with them. The banker turns amateur investigator and learns the final solution to the mystery of two murders and a string of deformed colts with help from a bright woman pharmacist. But Francis' fans all know the moral of his books by now; as one character in Banker says, "Break your heart, horses do." (Putnam's, $14.95)
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