Thursday, March 04, 2010

dick meet

A brief footnote to the previous post: you might remember from this earlier post that I claimed to have met Dick Francis once, and indeed I have. It was in very similar circumstances to the Sebastian Faulks meeting, in that it was at a book-signing session at the bookshop in Newbury where I used to work during university holidays. This particular session was to promote Francis' 27th novel The Edge, so it would have been 1988 or 1989. The Edge isn't one of his best books, to be honest; set on a trans-Canada train ride with various murky characters it's all a bit sub-Murder On The Orient Express. The general pattern (in my view, anyway) is that the further the books' setting and plot was from the world of British horse-racing, the weaker they were - The Edge, Slay-Ride (Scandinavia), In The Frame (painting, Australia), Trial Run (Russia) and The Danger (kidnapping) all suffer in this respect. Anyway he seemed a nice enough old codger who didn't require a ludicrous rock star rider or a steady stream of groupies, just that we provided a glass of red wine for the signing and kept it topped up throughout.

Since I was an impoverished student at the time I couldn't afford to be shelling out on newly-released hardback novels, so instead I got Francis to sign the three paperbacks I bought to complete my (at the time) full collection of his novels: the aforementioned Slay-Ride, Trial Run and Smokescreen. Here's a sample:

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