RARA-AVIS: Re: Sports Noir

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 14 Feb 2007

Jim wrote:

> Dick Francis, the former champion jockey whose novels all involve
> horse racing, seems an obvious choice at first, since his books are
> all admirably tough. They have never quite struck me as noir,
> though, neither by my definition nor by Jack's. They're great books,
> though. Four of them feature an ex-jockey turned PI named Sid Halley.

Dang, you beat me to it.

Yep, tough as all hell, but not quite noir. But oh, so very very close at times.

Particularly COME TO GRIEF, with all those nasty horse mutilations.

And WHIP HAND, where the bad guy threatens to amputate Sid's one good hand.

Alas, the recent one, UNDER ORDERS, isn't quite up to the standards of the other three (all of which I believe won Edgars -- surely some sort of record). Although it does have a few memorable bits, particularly the assault-with-arm-stump scene.

On another list, someone referred to Francis' books as "cozies."


Makes me wonder what sort of scene would convince her they're not cozies. Two Mexican dogs humping on a pile of dead children?


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