ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Adventure In Reading - Dick Francis & Felix Francis - Even Money

Updated on February 25, 2016

The Authors and This Book

Dick Francis was born in 1920. His father was a jockey and stable manager and Dick left school at 15 with the intention of becoming a jockey and a trainer. He married in 1947 and they had two sons - Merrick and Felix. He wrote 45 books. He and his wife moved to Florida in the 1980s and in 1992 they moved to the Cayman Islands.

Felix Francis is the younger of the two sons and was born in 1953. He studied Physics and Electronics at London University. He then spent 17 years in a career in education when he left the field to manage his father's affairs. Since about 1970 he assisted his father with research and began helping with the writing of the books. They were working on their fourth book when Dick died in 2010. The first book written by Felix after his father's death was still published as a "Dick Francis Novel" written by Felix Francis.

This book is the third one where they collaborated. It was published in 2009. It is about 350 pages in length.

The Story

This story is about a bookmaker at the horse races in England. He is in a highly competitive business that is loosely regulated and dependent upon the wits of the proprietor for success. His business is done strictly at the race track. He is married and his wife is in a hospital for the mentally ill. She has made progress in the hospital but in the past upon release into the community has relapsed and been hospitalized again. His paternal grandfather is dead and his paternal grandmother is in a senior living facility.

At the beginning of the book, the hero's - Ned Talbot - life begins to become complicated by the appearance of an Australian man claiming to be his long ago disappeared father. The stranger from Australia tells Ned he has two sisters in Australia but he is killed at the start without revealing much information. A villain enters the story looking for a stash of money that the "father from Australia" is supposed to have. A second searcher and then a third enter the book, each looking for specific items they expected Ned's father to have possessed.

Ned decides to handle matters on his own after a less than satisfactory encounter with the local police. His life becomes more and more perilous and the hunt for the "money" and the other "items" cause danger.

The resolving of the various problems are accomplished with surprises and twists that lead on to compare this novel to other Francis's outings.

What Happens

At the time of this book, English bookmaking and horse race betting was different than in the United States. The odds that a bettor obtained as quoted by the bookmaker and a bet slip was prepared that shows the bet and the payoff based on those odds. The knowledge and experience of the bookmaker contribute to the odds quoted by the individual bookmakers. They also influence their quoted odds by the amount of betting that has been done (much the same as sports betting in the United States).

Off track betting was often influenced by the average of the quotes by the bookmakers at the track. This lent itself to manipulating of the odds by trying to control the amounts bets on horses at the track. For instance, heavy betting on a horse with high odds would cause the track bookmakers to adjust their odds downward on that horse. When doing that, the odds on the other horses in the race would rise. Enough judicious betting of that type could cause the race track odds on the clear cut favorite in the race to rise not only at the track but in the off track race books. Heavy betting on the favorite at the race books would be done at odds that had been manipulated at the track to be artificially high.

When odds at the track have caused the off track racebooks to be uncomfortable with the posted odds they then do the same thing in reverse, sending bets to the track on the favorite to force those odds down and relieve the betting pressure at the racebook.

This concept is repeatedly used through the book to create tension for the on track bookmakers. Enforcers with steel toed shoes try to impress upon Ned that such activity will be dealt with severely even though Ned is at that point innocent of such activity.

Ned uncovers a fraudulent scheme that allows a horse with sterling capability to be substituted for a badly performing one, creating long odds on a reasonably clear cut favorite. Ned uses the knowledge to find a betting opportunity. Then he uses the ability to manipulate the payoff odds at the offtrack betting parlors to create a windfall bet which he is able to use to his financial advantage.

The local police still are not actively pursuing an investigation into the chicanery surrounding the death of Ned's newly discovered father. To further complicate the plot, it begins to appear that this stranger really is his father but to Ned's dismay disappeared years before shortly after he murdered his wife, Ned's mother. Ned's elderly grandmother in a lucid moment clarifies Ned's early life and his parentage and the murder with crushing knowledge.

When is appears it can only get worse, problems begin to be resolved and in the final pages of the book, reasonable solutions appear.

The Summary

The book is on the periphery of horse racing more than many of the Francis' books. However, it lacks some of the crispness in writing that I had come to expect when reading a Dick Francis novel. A good story but not quite as satisfying at many of the other books.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate it about a 6.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)