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Driving Force - Dick Francis

This one doesn't much grab me. The plot is complex, and we learn about horse transportation, which isn't interesting even to a gal who loves a Gantt chart. There's a married woman he pursues who obviously doesn't reciprocate. The hero is brighter than anyone expects and likes champagne and endures a horrible physical ordeal, all familiar Francis tropes. But in this story the social aspect of horseracing feels toxic and hostile to women and Freddie, the amateur dick, is part of that hostility.

Also the name Freddie is unappealing, which fits. He's condescending to his employees, doesn't see the constant sexual harassment of or by his employees as a problem, and he doesn't want to go to the police because they weren't pleasant when they asked him about a corpse. 

Really, the problem is that no ending which includes Freddie carrying on won't be happy one.


Library copy