New Turf

7:52 PM 26 OCTOBER 2016

The adage that writers should stick to what they know has been assiduously followed by former National Hunt Champion Jockey, John Francome. Mining the rich seam that accompanies the elite world of horse racing, the author assembles the well-worn ingredients of wealth, corruption, murder, sex and conflict against the genteel backdrop of Lambourn and the horsey set. In some respects, the book has the feel of a formula, the cast of characters, including police investigators, stereotypes equally recognizable in other contexts. Only the presence and mystique of thoroughbred horses and the sub-plots of their racing careers mark out this book among the shelves of ‘thrillers’. Still, as with the best of the genre, I did burn through the pages quickly and the fast-moving action did ‘gallop’ along. As I’m on holiday, it also felt like a light foray into a new hedonistic field for me. I think I shall have to pick up a Dick Francis novel to see if Francome, the padawan, is yet neck and neck with the acclaimed master of this particular turf.

Rating: 3 out of 5.