To The Hilt
Discover the classic mystery from Dick Francis, one of the greatest thriller writers of all time
'Great characters, twisting plot. One of the very best Francis novels' 5***** Reader Review
'Tense, puzzling and powerful . . . Francis is a consummate craftsman' 5***** Reader Review
Just after learning that his stepfather is gravely ill, artist Al Kinloch, returning to his remote home in the Scottish Highlands, is attacked by four men.
They ask one question - 'where is it?' - then leave him for dead . . .
Baffled and hurt, Al visits his stepfather and learns millions of pounds are missing and a valuable racehorse is under threat. Already roughed up, Al decides he has nothing to lose getting to the bottom of this.
Unfortunately, the thugs who beat him up and the person behind them will make sure that Al doesn't survive their next encounter . . .
Packed with intrigue and hair-raising suspense, To the Hilt is just one of the many blockbuster thrillers from legendary crime writer Dick Francis.
Praise for Dick Francis:
'As a jockey, Dick Francis was unbeatable when he got into his stride. The same is true of his crime writing' Daily Mirror
'The narrative is brisk and gripping and the background researched with care . . . the entire story is a pleasure to relish' Scotsman
'Dick Francis's fiction has a secret ingredient - his inimitable knack of grabbing the reader's attention on page one and holding it tight until the very end' Sunday Telegraph
'A regular winner . . . as smooth, swift and lean as ever' Sunday Express
'The master of suspense and intrigue' Country Life
'Francis writing at his best' Evening Standard
'Still the master' Racing Post
The "hilt" of Francis's delightful 35th thriller refers to the jewel-encrusted, solid gold handle of the ceremonial sword of Scotland's would-be king, Bonnie Prince Charlie. A descendant of the Scottish earl to whom the prince gave the hilt, narrator Alexander Kinloch lives in an unelectrified bothy in the Scottish mountains, supporting himself through his paintings. Al's keen visual sense allows him to draw the faces of the four thugs who beat him and tear apart his home in the opening chapter. "Where is it?" they demand, establishing the leitmotif of concealed objects that Francis weaves through the plot. Hard on the beating, Al must rush to London to comfort his mother in the aftermath of her husband's heart attack. Al learns that his stepfather's brewery is about to collapse because the finance director has absconded with millions of pounds. In desperation, the business affairs of the brewery are turned over to Al, though he pines for solitude, his easel and the mountains. A Francis novel wouldn't be complete without thoroughbred racing; in fact, Al's estranged wife is a race trainer, and one of the many things Al has to hide is Golden Malt, his stepfather's steeplechaser, slated to run in the King Alfred Gold Cup--unless Al's spiteful stepsister can steal the horse first. The diverse plot threads tie up neatly, but not before Al achieves an understated emotional breakthrough with his wife and with his undemonstrative mother, endures gruesome torture with hardly a murmur and wins his stepsister's trust. Likable characters abound: a PI who's a master of disguise; the earl, "Himself," who trusts Al to hide the ancestral hilt; a solvency practioner whose flowered dresses and soft hair help persuade bankers to give the brewery a second chance. Earlier this year, the Mystery Writers of America honored Francis as a Grand Master; this novel again shows why. BOMC featured alternate; author tour.