Born 31st October 1920 in Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire
Died 14th February 2010 in the Cayman Islands
Richard Stanley Francis CBE FRSL was a British steeplechase jockey and crime writer, whose novels centre on horse racing in England.
After wartime service in the RAF, Francis became a full-time jump-jockey, winning over 350 races and becoming champion jockey of the British National Hunt. He came to further prominence in 1956 as jockey to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, riding her horse Devon Loch when it fell, for unexplained reasons, while close to winning the Grand National. He then retired from the turf and became a professional journalist and novelist.
All his novels deal with crime in the horse-racing world, some of the criminals being outwardly respectable figures. The stories are narrated by one of the key players, often a jockey, but sometimes a trainer, an owner, a bookie, or someone in a different profession, peripherally linked to racing. This person is always facing great obstacles, often including physical injury, from which he must fight back with determination. (The most frequently recurring of Francis' protagonists was former jockey turned one armed private investigator Sid Halley.) More than forty of these novels became international best-sellers.
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