Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dick Francis is gone, too.





According to the Telegraph, mystery/thriller author Dick Francis, 89, passed away at his home in Grand Cayman today, February 14, 2010.

Francis not only had a successful career as a National Hunt jockey, but he became a best selling author, drawing on his experience and expertise as a jockey. I remember reading one of his books that had a jockey crashed beneath the horse and thinking, "That sounds so realistic." His descriptions and details were believable because he had lived them.

He wrote 42 thrillers over 40 years and had worldwide sales of over 60 million, according his his obituary.

Quoting from the obituary in the Telegraph: Where other thriller writers probed the darker crannies of the soul, Francis reaffirmed the values of human decency and the struggle between the man of good against the forces of lust for power, dishonesty and greed. Heroes can expect to be chained, beaten, burned or flayed two or three times per book – but good always triumphs in the end.

Dick's beloved wife, Mary, died in 2000, and many rumors have her actually writing the books with his name on the covers. He said he could never have written without her, and that he wished she would allow him to have "by Dick and Mary Francis" on the books. Again from the obituary: "It is not the case that Mary writes the books," claimed her husband. "I do all the stories. I write them out in longhand. She then reads and edits them, because she can manage my handwriting, and I put them into the computer."

Dick Francis is survived by two sons, Merrick and Felix. Felix helped write his father's last four novels. Even Money came out in September and Crossfire is due to be released this autumn.

Good bye, Dick. I, for one, will miss your novels. You gave me a glimpse into another world and allowed me to enjoy it.

***
P.S. If you liked this article, please click on the tweet button to retweet it.

.

18 comments:

storylady said...

Nice tribute Viv. Will have to check out his books. Not sure I know who he is, but probably have heard of him,because I love horses.

Sharon

Terry Odell said...

Reflex was the first Francis book I read, and it was "exciting" because I'd been taking photography classes and understood what the clues meant.

I went back to find his first books, and as we're packing to move, all the Francis books are definitely coming cross country with us.

Vivian Zabel said...

I can't remember the first Dick Francis book I read many, many years ago. I was caught with the first though, and have read every one I could get my hands on. He and his son did a good job with their joint efforts, too.

Susanne Drazic said...

You wrote a very nice tribute to him Vivian. Thank you for your post.

Jeanne Vincent said...

Very nice tribute. Dick Francis will be missed by readers and writers.

Katie Hines said...

Very tasteful article, Vivian. I didn't realize the part his wife took in his writing, but perhaps Felix will take over this wonderful man's legacy.

Vivian Zabel said...

I've read at least one of the joint ventures with Dick and Felix. I haven't the one that came out in September, but I'm planning on getting it and the one that comes out this fall.

I just wonder how Felix would adjust for the lack of personal experience Dick brought to the books.

Cheryl said...

Nice tribute, Vivian. I didn't know Dick Francis had passed away. My mother-in-law has read all his books. She'll be heartbroken.

Cheryl

Vivian Zabel said...

Cheryl, he died early this morning. I guess he went to join his love of so many years on Valentine's Day.

Other Lisa said...

I have read a ton of his books. Always enjoyed them, especially the earlier ones. I felt bad for his heroes though -- they always took such a battering!

Cher Green said...

Nice tribute. I've never read his books, but will have to check his work out.

Nancy Famolari said...

Enjoyed the tribute. Dick Francis was one of my favorite authors. I just read "Crossfire" and loved it. Thanks, Vivian.

Vivian Zabel said...

It's hard to see authors die or retire. Sad for us because we miss their books. However, leaving one way or another is a fact of life. At least we have Dick Francis' books as his legacy.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I don't remember which of his books I've read, but I know that a lot of my reading material came from my grandmother's and mother's bookshelves, and I know I've read a few because they were fans. He had a good, long career and life; I think it's just hard to be reminded of our own mortality, Viv.

Vivian Zabel said...

I'm hoping I live to such an advance age and am still writing as Dick Francis was. Of course it would be nice to have his financial status, too, but ... *laugh* I can dream.

The Old Silly said...

Didn't know he had passed, but whjat a fine tribute post, Vivian!

Marvin D Wilson

Karen Cioffi said...

Wonderful tribute, Vivian.

Karen

Heidiwriter said...

I've enjoyed his books too! I have to confess, I thought he'd passed on long ago! Thanks for the tribute.
Heidi