A Racing Life
A biography of the champion jockey and racing thriller writer
1999 - Little, Brown & Co - UK hardback
1999 - Warner Books - UK paperback
1999 - Chivers Press - UK large-print hardback & paperback
2000 - W.F.Howes - Unabridged audio narrated by Christopher Kay
2002 - Eksmo Press - Russian edition translated by D.Voronin
“Sensational... astonishing... amazing... a well-written, carefully researched book” – Rodney Masters, Racing Post
“A plot as gripping as one of his own novels...sensational” – Mark Evans, Daily Star
“Will intrigue and delight his fans and will probably have the racing glitterati clamouring for copies of this excellent, fast-paced Grand National of biographies...this diligent and illuminating biography” – Susan Harrison, Amazon.co.uk
“A sure winner...a fascinating read...Graham Lord writes with much affection for his subject and the tale of his life reads like a race horse let loose over a long and unpredictable course...riveting” – Bournemouth Daily Echo
For nearly 40 years, from 1962 to 1999, a new Dick Francis horseracing thriller was published every autumn to the delight of millions of fans all over the world. His books sold 60 million copies in 34 languages, won several awards and were praised lavishly by admirers as varied as Sir Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin and the Queen Mother.
So how did Francis do it, this legendary ex-champion jockey who hated school and left at 15 without any qualifications yet whose books shot straight to the top of the bestseller list each Christmas? He did it with an immense amount of help from his amazing wife, Mary, who died in 2000 and of whom he often said that he wished she would let him put her name as co-author on the covers of the books. Dick and Mary Francis created a spectacularly successful literary partnership, and the story of the Dick Francis books was the story of them both.
Graham Lord knew the Francises for nearly 30 years and in this revealing double biography he tells not only the riveting tale of Dick’s remarkable life – the horsey Welsh childhood, the triumphs as champion jump-jockey, the 1956 Grand National tragedy when he so nearly won the race on the Queen Mother’s horse Devon Loch – but also the intriguing secret story of Dick’s astonishing wife. Mary and Dick fell in love at first sight, at a cousin’s wedding, and for more than 50 years were inseparable, creating not only a triumphant working partnership but also an idyllically close marriage, with two sons, that was the envy of all who knew them.
Graham Lord’s warm, affectionate, yet sharp and perceptive biography of Dick and Mary Francis is romantic, inspiring and deeply moving – and one of the great love stories of our time.