Dick Francis, CBE, FRSL (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.
Dick Francis worked on his books with his wife, Mary, before her death. Dick considered his wife to be his co-writer – as he is quoted in the book, „The Dick Francis Companion”, released in 2003:
„Mary and I worked as a team. … I have often said that I would have been happy to have both our names on the cover. Mary’s family always called me Richard due to having another Dick in the family. I am Richard, Mary was Mary, and Dick Francis was the two of us together.”
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 ‘
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 ‘
Dick Francis was one of the most successful post-war National Hunt jockeys. The winner of over 350 races, he was champion jockey in 1953/1954 and rode for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, most famously on Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National.
On his retirement from the saddle, he published his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write forty-three bestselling novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), and the biography of Lester Piggott.
During his lifetime Dick Francis received many awards, amongst them the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for his outstanding contribution to the genre, and three ‘best novel’ Edgar Allan Poe awards from The Mystery Writers of America. In 1996 he was named by them as Grand Master for a lifetime’s achievement. In 1998 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2000. Dick Francis died in February 2010, at the age of eighty-nine, but he remains one of the greatest thriller writers of all time.