Picks and Pans Review: The Danger
Although the usual setting—a race track—appears in a couple of scenes, this latest Francis mystery-thriller, his 22nd, gallops over less familiar turf. Its hero is a consultant whose job is thwarting kidnappers. As the novel opens, the Italian police have bungled a payoff, and there is a chance that the kidnappers will kill their hostage—a beautiful jockey who is also the daughter of a wealthy Bologna leather merchant. This is only the first of the three cases that concern the hero. The second kidnapping is that of the 3-year-old son of a British horse owner. The third takes place in America. There is more action and the pace seems quicker in The Danger than in recent Francis novels. The main villain is a worthy adversary—all his victims seem to like him. At the end, Francis sends his hero to the U.S. where the character "felt liberated, as always in America, a feeling which I thought had something to do with the country's own vastness, as if the wide-apartness of everything flooded into the mind and put spaces between everyday problems." Francis' fans won't be disappointed. (Putnam's, $15.95)
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