Picks and Pans Review: Bolt

updated 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dick Francis

Kit Fielding, the brave and gadget-loving jockey hero of Francis' earlier novel Break In, is back. This time he's unhappy because Danielle, his beautiful American fiancée who is also the niece of his patron, the Princess, is suddenly interested in a suave older man. Then, a rich and dangerous Frenchman appears. He wants to use the company he co-owns with the Princess's invalid husband to manufacture guns, and he begins a program of intimidation that includes attempted murder. Two of the Princess's horses, one of them a potential entry in the Grand National, are shot in their stalls, and Fielding sets in motion a plot that he hopes will trap the Frenchman. As usual, the racing material is authoritative and compelling, but the author also creates a kind of upper-class fantasy world so lavish in its luxurious details that it is great fun to read about. His middle-European royalty, settled in London with tons of money and fast horses and a splendid style of living, provide an amusing background for this kind of fiction. By now, readers of Francis' mystery novels know that every time he leaves the starting gate, he provides first-class entertainment. (Putnam's, $17.95)

From Our Partners