Monday, February 15, 2010
In Memory Of...
Sometimes the memoirs aren't written yet, and may never be... Sometimes with the passing of a great author we are only comforted by the fact that they have left something behind of themselves... their words, their ideas, their stories... We may not have actually known a favorite author, but we have shared a moment in time we them, we've shared a laugh, maybe a tear or two.
Dick Francis passed away yesterday at the age of 89, leaving behind an unbelievable career in writing with 41 best selling novels! He came by a writing career in an unusual way- by a horrible twist of fate when his horse collapsed in the Grand National on the Queen Mother's horse Devon Loch in 1956. He was within sight of winning, but by the time the horse recovered it was all over. Public sympathy prompted him to write his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, which has been out of print for some time now.
His father, grandfather and great grandfather were all amateur steeplechase jockeys, so it was only natural that Dick Francis would learn to ride. He became Great Britain's leading National Hunt jockey and a champion steeplechaser, and jockey for the Queen Mother. He was a celebrated jockey with over 350 wins. He was Champion Jockey in 1953/1954 and became jockey to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for four seasons. It has been said that he would have preferred to be known as a great rider instead of a great writer.
Dick Francis is the winner of the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger and received the Mystery Writer of America’s Edgar Award for Best Novel three times! (He was the only person ever to have won it three times) He was a Thrill writer who wrote about what he loved most- horse racing (or at least with the backdrop of horse racing). And with all of his accolades there is still a bit of a controversy surrounding his writing- it is rumored that his beloved wife Mary, who was well educated, wrote the books but because Dick was the well known jockey, they were published under his name.
You can find out more about Dick Francis, his career in writing and in horse racing at the Dick Francis website. You can also find there a list of all of the author's books, AND a full list of the characters from all the books!