Thursday, July 31, 2008

Silks-Dick Francis and Felix Francis

Dick Francis and Felix Francis
Putnam, Sep 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 0399155333

Julian Trent blames his former London barrister Geoffrey Mason for his initial assault conviction that was overturned on appeal. Mason thought his client got off soft on an overwhelming lost case. However, Trent believes his lawyer did not provide a proper defense and begins sending intimidating messages to Mason.

Although he has doubts bigger than Big Ben, Mason agrees to defend jockey Steve Mitchell against a murder charge. Evidence is strong that a crime of passion occurred as witnesses saw Mason’s client and another jockey Scot Barlow arguing over the latter’s late sister who was the former’s girlfriend Millie when he was married with kids. Barlow blamed Mitchell for his sister’s suicide while Mitchell blamed Barlow for informing his wife of the affair as his spouse divorced him, remarried an Aussie, and moved with their kids to Australia. Not long after that Barlow was found murdered with the means being a pitchfork. However, to his shock, unknown adversaries order Mason to lose the case or else they imply his septuagenarian father would be battered like his computer just was.

SILKS is a terrific legal thriller starring a barrister with a difficult case exponentially compounded by threats to lose and by Mason’s problems to focus as he also believes Trent is involved. The story line is a fast ride around the track although racing is more background than usual in a Dick Francis thriller. Although the courtroom revelation seems out of Perry Mason rather than Geoffrey Mason, fans enjoy the latest collaboration from the father and son Francis horse racing mystery team (see DEAD HEAT).

Harriet Klausner