Sunday, May. 26, 2024

Dick Francis Dies at 89

Bestselling equestrian mystery writer Richard "Dick" Stanley Francis died on Feb. 14 at his home in the Cayman Islands. He was 89.

Mr. Francis first gained acclaim as a steeplechase jockey, winning over 350 races in his nine-year career. He even rode for the royal family for several years and gained national notoriety when the Queen Mother’s horse collapsed beneath him right before crossing the finish line first at the Grand National. The horse then jumped up and was fine.

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Bestselling equestrian mystery writer Richard “Dick” Stanley Francis died on Feb. 14 at his home in the Cayman Islands. He was 89.

Mr. Francis first gained acclaim as a steeplechase jockey, winning over 350 races in his nine-year career. He even rode for the royal family for several years and gained national notoriety when the Queen Mother’s horse collapsed beneath him right before crossing the finish line first at the Grand National. The horse then jumped up and was fine.

After retiring from racing, Mr. Francis wrote an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before turning to crime fiction. Mr. Francis created an immensely popular sub-genre of thrillers set in the horseracing world. He wrote 42 novels and sold more than 60 million books internationally.

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Mr. Francis won many awards for his writing, including the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award an unprecedented three times.

His son, Felix, who has coauthored his past three books stated, “My brother, Merrick, and I are of course devastated by the loss of our father, but we rejoice in having been the sons of such an extraordinary man. We share in the joy that he brought to so many over such a long life. It is an honor for me to be able to continue his remarkable legacy through the new novels.”

Mr. Francis is survived by two sons, Merrick and Felix, as well as five grandchildren and one great grandson. His beloved wife Mary, to whom he was married for 53 years, died in 2000.

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