Picks and Pans Review: Break in

updated 04/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dick Francis

Kit Fielding, the jockey hero of this typically entertaining, 25th mystery novel by Francis, has a twin sister who is married to a trainer. Their stable is in serious trouble because of an item in a newspaper gossip column that may trigger their bankruptcy. Fielding goes about solving their complicated problem—including a family feud that goes back for generations—in between the races, he rides for a princess with whom he has a special rapport. There is no murder in Francis' story this time, but the hero does manage to get stabbed and stun-gunned. It's the characters rather than the mayhem that count in this author's stories anyway. One villain is an ambitious business tycoon who wants desperately to be knighted and will do anything to get his title. The other bad guys are newspaper moguls who use their power to do pretty much as they please. Well into the book, the princess' pretty niece from America turns up as a London producer of a big TV news network. She not only falls in love with Fielding, but she manages to read the hero's mind just the way his twin sister once did. The descriptive passages of the steeplechase events are lyrical and welcome. The day when the hero rides in four winners is special fun. (Putnam, $17.95)

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