Picks and Pans Review: Come to Grief

updated 10/30/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/30/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dick Francis

Page Turner of Week

AFTER A STRING OF SO-SO OUTINGS that had some readers wondering if he were becoming an also-ran, the master of equine thrills once again clears the jumps with panache. The author's gallop to the winner's circle with this, his 34th mystery, is aided by the return of his pluckiest protagonist, steeplechase jockey-turned-gumshoe Sid Halley. In Whip Hand, published in 1979, Halley's left hand was hacked off by a murderous fiend. This time, in a densely textured and perfectly plotted story, Sid must stop a maniac who maims race horses by cutting off their feet. When Halley fingers his old friend, the popular TV personality Ellis Quint, he comes under attack by the tabloid press as well as an outraged public. In the process of saving his reputation—and the best of British horseflesh—Halley nearly loses his life. The race down Grief's homestretch will have readers standing in their stirrups. (Putnam, $23.95)

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