The Edge

This murder mystery (368 pages) was published in August of 2000 by G.P. Putnam's Sons. The book takes you to England and the Canadian Rockies. Melissa read The Edge and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

The Edge

Dick Francis

In this bracing adventure, our hero Tor Kelsey travels from the UK to Canada to crack a case aboard The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train.

British author and retired jockey Dick Francis wrote 42 thrillers, mostly set in the exhilarating — and, apparently, perilous — world of horse racing. Tor is the archetype of a Francis hero: handsome, but not intimidatingly so, resourceful and relentless, plagued by integrity, decent, accidentally charming, and gentlemanly to women and men alike.

He goes undercover for the Jockey Club’s security service to exterminate a villain called Julius Apollo Filmer, a nasty piece of work who’s suspected of murder, intimidating witnesses, blackmail, and other crimes that offend one’s sensibilities.

Desperate to gather enough evidence to finally convict Filmer, Tor joins a group of wealthy racehorse owners on a luxurious train journey through the Canadian Rockies. The passengers are promised gorgeous scenery, endlessly flowing champagne, special races, and a murder-mystery game that will take place throughout the trip, mingling actors with the real passengers. Posing as a waiter, Tor ingratiates himself with the staff and has several near-misses with Filmer.

As the train barrels through the Canadian wilderness from Montreal to Vancouver — through the mountains, Banff, and the stunning Chateau Lake Louise — there are backroom deals, dangerous thrills, train sabotage, a snowstorm, betrayal, and a little bit of romance.

Francis was no stranger to physical battering and broken bones. During WWII, he was a fighter pilot in Africa, and later, he was a winning steeplechase jockey and rode for Queen Elizabeth. He, likewise, puts his protagonist Tor through the wringer. But our hero soldiers on with aplomb, taking his licks and delivering a few, too.

The train hooted in the distance: one of the most haunting of seductive sounds to a wanderer. That, and the hollow breathy boom of departing ships. If I had any addiction, it was to the setting off, not the arrival. — Dick Francis

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