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In The Frame: by Dick Francis (Unabridged Audiobook 6CDs)

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The house was stripped bare of all its treasures. Gone was the furniture, the family silver, the paintings and the antique china. And if that was a shock for Charles Todd, painter of horses, how much more harrowing was the trauma for his cousin Donald, whose house it was and whose young wife lay on the sitting room floor, bloody and dead... A coincidental meeting with a mi The house was stripped bare of all its treasures. Gone was the furniture, the family silver, the paintings and the antique china. And if that was a shock for Charles Todd, painter of horses, how much more harrowing was the trauma for his cousin Donald, whose house it was and whose young wife lay on the sitting room floor, bloody and dead... A coincidental meeting with a middle-aged widow sends Charles off to Australia, on the trail of a gang with a fruitful business in forging works of art. In a world of high stakes and tremendous risks, where villains will stop at nothing to achieve their ends, Dick Francis weaves his compelling narrative with the control of a master craftsman.


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The house was stripped bare of all its treasures. Gone was the furniture, the family silver, the paintings and the antique china. And if that was a shock for Charles Todd, painter of horses, how much more harrowing was the trauma for his cousin Donald, whose house it was and whose young wife lay on the sitting room floor, bloody and dead... A coincidental meeting with a mi The house was stripped bare of all its treasures. Gone was the furniture, the family silver, the paintings and the antique china. And if that was a shock for Charles Todd, painter of horses, how much more harrowing was the trauma for his cousin Donald, whose house it was and whose young wife lay on the sitting room floor, bloody and dead... A coincidental meeting with a middle-aged widow sends Charles off to Australia, on the trail of a gang with a fruitful business in forging works of art. In a world of high stakes and tremendous risks, where villains will stop at nothing to achieve their ends, Dick Francis weaves his compelling narrative with the control of a master craftsman.

30 review for In The Frame: by Dick Francis (Unabridged Audiobook 6CDs)

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    This is a fairly typical Dick Francis novel. In this case, the protagonist is Charles Todd, an artist who specializes in painting horses. He goes to spend a weekend with his cousin and the cousin's wife, only to arrive and find that the cousin's house has been burglarized. The cousin's wife, who apparently surprised the burglars by coming home unexpectedly, has been murdered. The cousin, Donald, is a wine merchant and is currently having some financial difficulties. The police suspect that he ma This is a fairly typical Dick Francis novel. In this case, the protagonist is Charles Todd, an artist who specializes in painting horses. He goes to spend a weekend with his cousin and the cousin's wife, only to arrive and find that the cousin's house has been burglarized. The cousin's wife, who apparently surprised the burglars by coming home unexpectedly, has been murdered. The cousin, Donald, is a wine merchant and is currently having some financial difficulties. The police suspect that he may have had his own home burgled and his wife killed in order to collect a large insurance settlement. Todd, of course, knows that this is a nonsensical idea. In talking with his cousin, he discovers that the cousin recently bought a very valuable painting while on vacation in Australia. The painting, of course, is missing along with everything else of value in the house. In something of a lucky accident, Todd then discovers that someone else he knows had recently bought a similar painting in Australia. Her house has been robbed as well and burned to the ground for good measure. The coincidence strikes Todd as simply too improbable. His cousin Donald has turned basically catatonic as a result of the death of his wife and in an effort to help him and to get him out from under the suspicions of the police, Todd flies to Australia and begins investigating the events from that angle. Inevitably, of course, he stirs up a hornets' nest and puts himself in danger of losing life and limb. But like a true Dick Francis protagonist, he will stubbornly battle through tremendous odd to see justice done or die trying. Like virtually any Dick Francis novels, this is a fairly quick and entertaining read. Once you've read a number of these books, you always know what you're going to get, and so returning to one of them is like reuniting with an old friend. There won't be any big surprises, but it will be an enjoyable experience all the same.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Li'l Owl

    A dangerous game of cat and mouse will have you holding your breath all the way to the finish! "Don?" I said. I walked toward him. "Donald!" He didn't hear me. A policeman, however, did. He came swiftly from the sitting room in his dark blue uniform, took me by the arm, and swung me strongly and unceremoniously back toward the door. "Out of here, sir," he said. "If you please." The strained eyes slid uncertainly our way. "Charles... " His voice was hoarse. The policeman's grip loosened very slightl A dangerous game of cat and mouse will have you holding your breath all the way to the finish! "Don?" I said. I walked toward him. "Donald!" He didn't hear me. A policeman, however, did. He came swiftly from the sitting room in his dark blue uniform, took me by the arm, and swung me strongly and unceremoniously back toward the door. "Out of here, sir," he said. "If you please." The strained eyes slid uncertainly our way. "Charles... " His voice was hoarse. The policeman's grip loosened very slightly. "Do you know this man, sir?" he asked Donald. "I'm his cousin," I said. "Oh." He took his hands off, told me to stay where I was and look after Mr. Stuart, and returned to the sitting room to consult. "What's happened?" I said. Don was past answering. His head turned again toward the sitting room door, drawn to a horror he could no longer see. I disobeyed the police instructions, took ten steps, and looked in. The familar room was unfamiliarly bare. No pictures, no ornaments, no edge-to-edge floor covering of Oriental rugs. Just bare grey walls, chintz-covered sofas, heavy furniture pushed awry, and the great expanse of dusty wood-block flooring. And, on the floor, my cousin's young wife, bloody and dead. ****** This review is for the audiobook edition of In the Frame by Dick Francis, narrated by Ralph Cosham. Set primarily in Australia, the story is fast paced, tension filled, and exciting game of cat and mouse that has potentially deadly consequences. I enjoyed the characters and the unique storyline and the narration added an extra pop, making it more enjoyable then if I had read the printed edition myself. Narrator, Ralph Cosham, has a natural flair for story-telling and I really liked his ability to use different accents for the characters making it very easy to follow what's happening, earning him 5★'s for his performance of this book. I listened to this audiobook from beginning to end, all six hours of it, as I had to know how it ended! I was rewarded with a well written story with unexpected twists and an ending I couldn't have predicted! *About the author. Wikipedia: 'After wartime service in the RAF, Francis became a full-time jump-jockey, winning over 350 races and becoming champion jockey of the British National Hunt. He came to further prominence in 1956 as jockey to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, riding her horse Devon Loch. It fell when he was close to winning the Grand National. Francis retired from the turf and became a journalist and novelist.

  3. 4 out of 5

    W

    Charles Todd is a painter,who mostly paints horses. As he goes on a visit to his cousin's house,he finds his cousin's young wife murdered,and his house burgled. Soon,he meets a woman whose house has been burned and before that it was burgled.Both his cousin and this woman had bought paintings,while visiting Australia. Todd flies to Australia and enlists the help of a friend and his wife to unmask the culprits.Are they selling copies of a renowned painter's work,while telling their customers it is Charles Todd is a painter,who mostly paints horses. As he goes on a visit to his cousin's house,he finds his cousin's young wife murdered,and his house burgled. Soon,he meets a woman whose house has been burned and before that it was burgled.Both his cousin and this woman had bought paintings,while visiting Australia. Todd flies to Australia and enlists the help of a friend and his wife to unmask the culprits.Are they selling copies of a renowned painter's work,while telling their customers it is the real thing ? Todd soon finds himself in trouble as the culprits don't like him digging around.The action moves from Melbourne to Alice Springs and from there to Wellington,New Zealand. Todd finds himself flung from a second storey window,roughed up and shot at,but he does not give up,and nabs the culprits. This was a book I never found earlier,and finally I've now read all books written by Dick Francis (though several of those written by his son Felix still remain).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    I stood on the outside of disaster, looking in. Sometimes you know right from the opening phrase that you're in for a treat and that you will probably abandon all other pursuits around the house until you turn the last page of the latest Dick Francis thriller. As I've already read about two dozen of his books, this isn't really a surprise, and what others may call predictable and repetitive in his characterization and plotting I call reliable, dependable and comfortably familiar. But Francis doe I stood on the outside of disaster, looking in. Sometimes you know right from the opening phrase that you're in for a treat and that you will probably abandon all other pursuits around the house until you turn the last page of the latest Dick Francis thriller. As I've already read about two dozen of his books, this isn't really a surprise, and what others may call predictable and repetitive in his characterization and plotting I call reliable, dependable and comfortably familiar. But Francis does like to use again and again certain techniques and certain types of heroes and villains, so the best way to differentiate between his stories is by the profession of the main character and by the sometimes touristical trivia of his chosen location, when the action moves overseas. By this metric, In the Frame is about painting, and of course the main area of interest for Charles Todd is the painting of horses. With his usual thorough research, Francis offers interesting bits about pigments, brush techniques, famous exponents of the art - Stubbs, Munnings. As for the travel trivia, Todd starts on his quest in England, but has to follow leads to Australia and New Zealand, where you can almost see the author taking down notes on the Ayers Rock, men only bars, Maori or volcanic terrains. With the connection betwen painting and racing established, the book includes some very good scenes around the racing track, from the small venues in the Home Counties to the extraordinary popularity of the sport at the Antipodes: Jump racing at Plumpton, and the familiar swelling of excitement at the liquid movement of racehorses. Paintings could never do justice for them: never. The moment caught on canvas was always second best. The story itself is a murder investigation, with Mr. Todd thrown into an unfamiliar role as private investigator in trying to help his cousin Donald who loses his wife in a brutal burglary in the opening sequence. Despite an improbable coincidence early on (view spoiler)[ Todd immediately stumbles upon a second burglary in an unrelated incident (hide spoiler)] and some really stupid moves on the part of his adversaries, the action moves at a lively pace and the pages turn almost by themselves. While Todd is the usual competent professional with a quiet presence hiding a quick mind and unrelenting drive, obstinacy and physical endurance, I found the presence of his Australian friend provides a welcome balance. Jik is another painter, as loud and outgoing as Todd is introverted and self reliant. In the absence of a romantic interest for the main character, the story makes do with two tangential ones, subtly understated but just as powerful and authentic as I have come to expect from mr. Francis. In conclusion, as good a point as any other for readers unfamiliar with the author, and a decent addition to the collection of the fans.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Harry

    What is there to say about Dick Francis? As I think about all of his books (yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I've read them all) I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society - either directly or indirectly. The heroes aren't always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world. But more tha What is there to say about Dick Francis? As I think about all of his books (yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I've read them all) I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society - either directly or indirectly. The heroes aren't always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world. But more than that, Francis's heroes are rational human beings. The choices made are rational choices directed by a firm objective philosophy that belies all of Francis's novels. The dialogue is clear and touched with humor no matter the intensity of evil that the hero faces. The hero's thoughts reveal a vulnerability that is touching, while his actions are always based on doing the right thing to achieve justice. Causing the reader to deeply care about the characters in a novel is a difficult thing to do. No such worries in a Francis novel. The point of view is first person, you are the main character as you read the story (usually the character of Mr. Douglas). The hero is personable, like able, non-violent but delivering swift justice with his mind rather than through physical means. This is not to say that violence is a stranger to our hero. Some of it staggering and often delivered by what we would think of normal persons living in British society. You will come to love the world of Steeple Chase racing, you will grow a fondness for horses, stables, trainers and the people who live in that world. You will read the books, devouring one after the other and trust me Dick Francis has a lot of novels (over 40 by my last count). There are several series woven into the fabric of Francis's work: notably the Sid Halley and Kit Fielding series. Assessment: Dick Francis is one of my favorite writers. I read his books with a fierce hunger that remains insatiable and I mourn his death.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nente

    The mystery itself is typical Francis fare; so much so, in fact, that I spotted the villain on his first appearance. There's a generous dollop of violence, the villain is a bit deranged, but at least that side isn't drawn out (which I objected to in several other Francis novels). A good bit of research, as always - this time into painting - and I absolutely admire the way the researched facts are handled, not ladled out if large helpings, stopping the plot for a time, but sprinkling them here an The mystery itself is typical Francis fare; so much so, in fact, that I spotted the villain on his first appearance. There's a generous dollop of violence, the villain is a bit deranged, but at least that side isn't drawn out (which I objected to in several other Francis novels). A good bit of research, as always - this time into painting - and I absolutely admire the way the researched facts are handled, not ladled out if large helpings, stopping the plot for a time, but sprinkling them here and there to create a truly authentic flavour. There's no actual racing here, however. The characters watch a couple of races, and even that without much comment. For some reason I liked the books where the main character is a working jockey a bit more: perhaps they felt more alive still.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Highton

    So reliable, an intrepid hero, horse racing, crime and all so easy to read

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Not the most exciting of mysteries, but still decent for what it was.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Skyler

    My favourite Dick Francis mystery, although I think Whip Hand is the best.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Heckendorn

    As always a very exciting Dick Francis, even if this story has only marginally to do with horses. Todd visits his cousin Donald. When he arrives at his house, the police are already there. His sister-in-law is murdered in the living room. The whole house is devastated and most of it is robbed. A short time later, Todd meets a 'crazy' lady whose house has been burned down. What do these two cases have in common? Todd soon realizes that he is going to Australia. Together with his old friend Jik and As always a very exciting Dick Francis, even if this story has only marginally to do with horses. Todd visits his cousin Donald. When he arrives at his house, the police are already there. His sister-in-law is murdered in the living room. The whole house is devastated and most of it is robbed. A short time later, Todd meets a 'crazy' lady whose house has been burned down. What do these two cases have in common? Todd soon realizes that he is going to Australia. Together with his old friend Jik and his wife, the trio sets out to find the culprits. They not only find out that pictures have been forged and sold in all parts of the world, but that this gang is depriving all owners of the forged pictures and their belongings. Todd must also painfully realize that this organization does not stop at anything. He passes death twice and is seriously injured. With the help of the police in Australia and England, the head of the organization is finally snapped. (4½)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anachronist

    Synopsis When Charles Todd visits his cousin, Donald, he lands unexpectedly right in the middle of a major crisis: a burgled house, Donald's young wife, Regina, brutally murdered, Donald himself prostrated by grief, almost at his wit's end. What's even worse the police inspector instead of looking for a murderer starts accusing Donald of orchestrating the whole burglary to profit financially from it and help his ailing firm. Charles is outraged by their approach but what can be done? Especially Synopsis When Charles Todd visits his cousin, Donald, he lands unexpectedly right in the middle of a major crisis: a burgled house, Donald's young wife, Regina, brutally murdered, Donald himself prostrated by grief, almost at his wit's end. What's even worse the police inspector instead of looking for a murderer starts accusing Donald of orchestrating the whole burglary to profit financially from it and help his ailing firm. Charles is outraged by their approach but what can be done? Especially that shocked Donald doesn't even think of defending himself efficiently. Returning to London Todd, who earns his living as a painter specializing in horses, is hired by Maisie to immortalize her burned house on canvass. Chatting with that lady he almost has a sense of déjà vu: Maisie, like his cousin, has visited Australia recently, she, like his cousin, brought back a Munnings painting bought for a very reasonable price in an obscure, little art gallery and now she lost her house and almost all her belongings. Just a coincidence? Or maybe those two tragedies are somehow connected? Also in the case of Maisie the insurers are giving the victim a lot of grief, suspecting foul play. When Todd decides to investigate, Maisie is only too willing to assist him financially. With her money, Charles is able to go to Australia and start sniffing around. He is helped by Jik, his old university friend, also a painter, and his wife, Sarah who live in Melbourne. Soon enough they trail a set of clues only to realize that someone is trailing them. What will they discover? What I liked I liked the characterization in this novel, I really liked it a lot. It was done in really great way. Charles (or rather Todd, he hated being called Charles in fact) is a painter and he talks, thinks and breathes his passion. If he watches somebody he can describe them very accurately afterwards, he can tell you what ingredients are in particular paint colours, he can distinguish between a fake and an original just looking at the paint brushes; you don't doubt for one second that he is the real thing. The same can be said about his friend Jik - although he is a man of a completely different temperament and style, he and Todd understand each other perfectly well mainly because they share the same way of thinking. It was a nice change that Todd wasn't made to fall in love during his investigation. Well, he kind of fell for Sarah but he controlled his feelings like an adult, responsible person. No insta-love or insta-lust - it made the novel even better. At least I got the feeling that the relationship between Jik, Sarah and Charles were natural and real. What's more, I loved the narration style - smooth, elegant, unaffected, peppered with funny dialogues and situations in the right moments, teaching you a thing or two about art as well. In fact I was surprised when I found out that Francis was not a painter but a retired jockey; the man definitely knew a lot about painting and must have had an artisitc soul. It is a crime story and I am glad to say that the whole mystery was nicely done, not very difficult but also not so easy to solve. Sometimes Todd reminded me of Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street - they shared the same passion in pursuing the justice. It is a compliment of a kind I suppose ;). What I didn't like I admit that Charles Todd was a bit too lucky from time to time, especially for a total rookie of a private investigator who encoutered very ruthless and agressive criminals on his path. It was his first case, after all! I was also surprised a bit that such a big, efficient criminal organization like the one he discovered didn't have a plant inside the police forces. However, those are minor quibbles. Final verdict One of better murder mysteries I've read for a long time even if it felt a bit dated. I will gladly take another Francis book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Contrarius

    This Francis book opens with a tragedy, and throughout the book it contains more explorations of emotion than I think most Francis books do. The main character is once again in the "unassuming but successful mostly-loner everyman" mode, but there appears to be more focus on his social interactions (with his cousin, best friend, best friends wife, new friend) than in many other books in the series. This book reads very cinematically, and in fact it was remade into a TV movie in 1989. As usual, the This Francis book opens with a tragedy, and throughout the book it contains more explorations of emotion than I think most Francis books do. The main character is once again in the "unassuming but successful mostly-loner everyman" mode, but there appears to be more focus on his social interactions (with his cousin, best friend, best friends wife, new friend) than in many other books in the series. This book reads very cinematically, and in fact it was remade into a TV movie in 1989. As usual, the narrator Tony Britton does a fine job with this book. In general he is quite good with accents, and those accents get a workout here. His Americans do all tend to sound the same, and his New Zealanders sounded pretty much like his Aussies, but I suppose that is just quibbling. ;)

  13. 4 out of 5

    John

    A solid 3.5. Charles Todd is a painter who specializes in horse paintings. Arriving at his cousin Donald’s house he finds that his cousins wife Regina has been brutally murdered during a burglary. The police suspect the husband has organized a burglary to claim the insurance on the antiques and his wine collection. Charles discovers another robbery with the link of a painting brought in Australia. He decides to investigate and what follows a roller coaster with his friend Jik and his wife Sarah. A solid 3.5. Charles Todd is a painter who specializes in horse paintings. Arriving at his cousin Donald’s house he finds that his cousins wife Regina has been brutally murdered during a burglary. The police suspect the husband has organized a burglary to claim the insurance on the antiques and his wine collection. Charles discovers another robbery with the link of a painting brought in Australia. He decides to investigate and what follows a roller coaster with his friend Jik and his wife Sarah. International gang which he uncovers and trying to find the mastermind behind it. There adventure takes them to Alice Springs, Melbourne and New Zealand. A good rollicking adventure with a few twists and turns as well as Charles suffering a few injuries.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kit Ehrman

    This book changed my life. I discovered it in 1977, quit the government job I was working at the time, and went to work in the horse industry so I could experience the horse world firsthand. I worked with and owned horses for 25 years, all because of this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Trina

    Like all Dick Francis books, this is a fast, suspenseful read. I liked the fact that the central character Todd is a painter (of racehorses, of course) and that the search for his cousin's burgled home (and wife's killer) takes him to Australia in time for the Melbourne Cup. The blokey friendship with Jik, a fellow painter from art-school days in England, and Todd's growing fondness for Jik's sulky-but-plucky new bride Sarah come across well. Todd shows admirable restraint in not judging - or ac Like all Dick Francis books, this is a fast, suspenseful read. I liked the fact that the central character Todd is a painter (of racehorses, of course) and that the search for his cousin's burgled home (and wife's killer) takes him to Australia in time for the Melbourne Cup. The blokey friendship with Jik, a fellow painter from art-school days in England, and Todd's growing fondness for Jik's sulky-but-plucky new bride Sarah come across well. Todd shows admirable restraint in not judging - or acting on - what is bound to become a bad marriage, less admirable judgment in involving them in his manhunt Down Under for the violent perpetrators of fraud, arson, and murder. But he needs their help, and gets it in spades as Jik puts his personal trust funds at Todd's disposal, including several flights all around Australia & New Zealand visiting art galleries and posing as rich tourists interested in acquiring horse paintings (or passable forgeries) which are key to solving the puzzle. Of course, this all takes place in pre-internet/pre-GPS days, so there's a lot of shrewd guesswork on Todd's part about the whereabouts of the villains as well as their motives and methods. Eventually, the police are looped in, but not before Todd has to escape being bashed to death by waves against sharp volcanic rocks. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that so much of it unfolds in airports & hotels. Horseracing forms the backdrop. So it's up to the writing to carry the story. And it does, sailing over all the hurdles put in Todd's way as he chases down clues, coming in with a nice, strong finish at in the end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Another re-read from decades ago, or in this case listen. I didn't remember anything until someone got turpentine thrown in their face, but in this particular case that doesn't mean it was a bad book. It's a great ride, even though racing itself is just background to the story of the painter bent on saving his cousin from the tide of regret that threatens to pull him under. The superlative Tony Britton could read a dictionary and I'd listen fascinated from A to Z. My only tiny quibble was, why di Another re-read from decades ago, or in this case listen. I didn't remember anything until someone got turpentine thrown in their face, but in this particular case that doesn't mean it was a bad book. It's a great ride, even though racing itself is just background to the story of the painter bent on saving his cousin from the tide of regret that threatens to pull him under. The superlative Tony Britton could read a dictionary and I'd listen fascinated from A to Z. My only tiny quibble was, why did he make the MC's English born friend and former flatmate, who hadn't been all that many years in Australia, such a broad-Aussie speaker? His Australian born wife certainly isn't, and as I say, the man was born in England! The book held my attention from start to finish, even through the "spirit of the blitz" reference and the bracing-British-friend speech at the end. I have been "braced" by a couple of Brits and it can be a very hurtful experience, particularly if you're clinically depressed, not British or uppah middle clahhs. But the man being braced is (of course) a wine merchant, so he responds as expected, stiffens the upper lip and bucks up. Our Hero is of course a bit of a Joe Perfect, who figures it all out just by recourse to his little grey cells, but you expect that of a Francis MC, even if he isn't a jockey. Injuries that would kill a lesser mortal hardly make him limp, and it all works out in the end for the greater good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Many of the later Dick Francis novels I bought (I've all but 2 or 3) were read but once, and I had little recollection of this, bought sometime after 1996 (the particular edition n/a on Goodreads) and before visiting Australia and NZ myself. They not the main reason for enjoyment though - such a joy to read a tale told with clarity; simplicity where intended and omissions where necessary for tension.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky Loader

    Now I remember why I only ready Dick Francis a little at a time. I was pretty sure I knew where the plot was going from the moment I realized the center puzzle was about art fraud. He is a good writer, but he does tend to be repetitive.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Demsky

    Good read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Good old Dick Francis. The offhand social/political commentary is always interesting...this was coincidentally on the Troubles.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paula Schumm

    I listened to the audiobook from the library. This murder mystery novel has art, murder, theft, and travel. Charles Todd is an artist of horses, but he travels the world to prove his cousin innocent of murder. Recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Charles Todd is a painter, mostly of horses. He goes to visit his cousin only to find that their house has just been burgled and his cousin's wife murdered. Charles stays with his cousin, trying to help him deal with insurance, police, the clean up. But as time passes, it becomes clear that the investigation is stalled and his cousin is falling into a deep depression. Charles decided to take matters into his own hands and follows the clues to Australia. Like all Dick Francis books, the pace moves Charles Todd is a painter, mostly of horses. He goes to visit his cousin only to find that their house has just been burgled and his cousin's wife murdered. Charles stays with his cousin, trying to help him deal with insurance, police, the clean up. But as time passes, it becomes clear that the investigation is stalled and his cousin is falling into a deep depression. Charles decided to take matters into his own hands and follows the clues to Australia. Like all Dick Francis books, the pace moves pretty quickly, with lots of physical dangers and several horse races. This one features the Melbourne Cup. I didn't enjoy the audio version as much as I usually do for some reason. I just couldn't seem to concentrate long enough. I'm not sure if it was me or if it was the narrator or what.

  23. 4 out of 5

    MaryLou Pearce

    Any Dick Francis book gets five stars from me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    Another really great mystery from Dick Francis!

  25. 4 out of 5

    E.P.

    "In the Frame" is another of the slight, slender thrillers Francis was turning out in the 1970s, full of travel and good times. This one has a slightly somber edge, though. Charles is another of Francis's artist heroes, this time an actual artist, who paints mainly horses and sort of makes a living doing so. He aspires to nothing higher, but when his cousin's wife is murdered and several other people he knows report being burgled, he ends up heading off to Australia to try to track down the culpr "In the Frame" is another of the slight, slender thrillers Francis was turning out in the 1970s, full of travel and good times. This one has a slightly somber edge, though. Charles is another of Francis's artist heroes, this time an actual artist, who paints mainly horses and sort of makes a living doing so. He aspires to nothing higher, but when his cousin's wife is murdered and several other people he knows report being burgled, he ends up heading off to Australia to try to track down the culprits, where he teams up with a friend from art school and gets into exciting situations during the Melbourne Cup. While lightly sketched, "In the Frame" showcases Francis's feeling for color, something seen clearly for the first time in "Enquiry," and developed more fully here. Charles sees the world in terms of paint, color, and frame, unsurprisingly, and he pulls the reader into a brightly realized world, full of intense, color-drenched sensory experiences. It contrasts the sunny holiday world of Australia during the Melbourne Cup with gloomy autumnal England, where Charles's cousin sits at home brooding over his wife's murder. Francis always had a flair for well-chosen descriptive passages, and it reaches a particular high point in this novel. A pleasure to read, packing plenty of punch in its few pages.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    3.5 stars, rounding down. I liked this, this was a reasonably entertaining although slightly dated 1970s style mystery that you can read comfortably over the course of a quiet weekend. I had never read Dick Francis before, so figured I'd start with what most consider one of this better efforts. It probably was a bit of a barn-burner back in the 1970s when this came out, but I've read enough more recent and very compelling mystery/suspense thrillers that this one was merely "pretty good" by today 3.5 stars, rounding down. I liked this, this was a reasonably entertaining although slightly dated 1970s style mystery that you can read comfortably over the course of a quiet weekend. I had never read Dick Francis before, so figured I'd start with what most consider one of this better efforts. It probably was a bit of a barn-burner back in the 1970s when this came out, but I've read enough more recent and very compelling mystery/suspense thrillers that this one was merely "pretty good" by today's standards. It's funny that I just recently watched the movie "Knives Out" which is as send-up of overly elaborate plots of mystery books from the 70s and 80s. The central crime in this book was a bit elaborate and unrealistic, so I couldn't help but think of Knives Out when reading this. Still, this overall was descent. I liked the lengthy stretch down in Australia, a semi-travelogue of the way things were there in the mid-70s - a country I have a fondness, having spent the better part of a year down there from 1996 to '97. Fun stuff, it almost makes me want to bump this up to 4 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suraj Laxminarayanan

    Personally, it is so pleasant to read British authors for a change, breaking away from reading mostly American. The language is refined, devoid of swearing but sometimes prone to becoming highbrow that one finds it difficult to read and has to refer to the dictionary once every two sentences. But this book strikes the balance and is a smooth read. Again, worthless critics and very well-read readers who have read too much that they see what's coming next and can break down books the way they are Personally, it is so pleasant to read British authors for a change, breaking away from reading mostly American. The language is refined, devoid of swearing but sometimes prone to becoming highbrow that one finds it difficult to read and has to refer to the dictionary once every two sentences. But this book strikes the balance and is a smooth read. Again, worthless critics and very well-read readers who have read too much that they see what's coming next and can break down books the way they are constructed, can always complain that there is no character development or surprise. Granted that's what makes a lasting connection for the reader, it isn't fair in my opinion to dismiss almost every book with the same reason. I personally read for an escape from the world, to be part of more an adventure, a thrill ride to be honest - and I would be willing to have characters who are consistent and not always throwing a surprise or being flawed as expected while the overall plot doesn't progress to feel some change and tension. A pleasant read, a thrilling ride. The first Dick Francis book I have picked and it certainly won't be the last.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    As usual with Dick Francis, his novel grabs the reader on page one and refuses to let go. It's not action that grabs the reader, not in the sense of physical danger lurking around every corner, but a psychological gripping that embeds the hero into the reader's sympathies. Francis has us hooked on Charles Todd's journey as he attempts to help his bereaved cousin clear his name. Todd is Everyman doing his decent best against a much larger enemy and a seemingly indifferent justice system. It doesn As usual with Dick Francis, his novel grabs the reader on page one and refuses to let go. It's not action that grabs the reader, not in the sense of physical danger lurking around every corner, but a psychological gripping that embeds the hero into the reader's sympathies. Francis has us hooked on Charles Todd's journey as he attempts to help his bereaved cousin clear his name. Todd is Everyman doing his decent best against a much larger enemy and a seemingly indifferent justice system. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Todd's journey takes us halfway across the English-speaking world or introduces us to the world of art or into race-day excitement. This was a good mystery and I was wondering all the time how it would unravel and how the crime worked.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Foust

    Charles Todd, a young professional artist, arrives to visit his cousin Donald, a British wine merchant, & his young wife, Regina, only to find their home has been robbed & burglarized and Regina has been murdered. With his cousin rendered nearly catatonic at his wife's death, Charles, leaves Donald and stumbles upon another crime victim that he suspects might have a connection somehow to Regina's murder. Charles sets out to find Regina's killer. In an adventure that takes him to the other side o Charles Todd, a young professional artist, arrives to visit his cousin Donald, a British wine merchant, & his young wife, Regina, only to find their home has been robbed & burglarized and Regina has been murdered. With his cousin rendered nearly catatonic at his wife's death, Charles, leaves Donald and stumbles upon another crime victim that he suspects might have a connection somehow to Regina's murder. Charles sets out to find Regina's killer. In an adventure that takes him to the other side of the world to the Land Down Under, he & his art school friend track down an international art forgery and robbery ring that ends up nearly getting them killed, in their sleuthing adventures across Australia and New Zealand. Never a dull moment!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    When you read a Dick Francis book, you know what you're getting. This is especially evident when you read them back-to-back as I have been doing. All of his heroes are essentially the same character, which is fine if you like that character. The mystery in this book is kicked off with a large, improbable coincidence, but once past that, the book moves along at a good pace. Jik and Todd are an excellent crime fighting duo. My one complaint is the endless supplies of money that the characters seem When you read a Dick Francis book, you know what you're getting. This is especially evident when you read them back-to-back as I have been doing. All of his heroes are essentially the same character, which is fine if you like that character. The mystery in this book is kicked off with a large, improbable coincidence, but once past that, the book moves along at a good pace. Jik and Todd are an excellent crime fighting duo. My one complaint is the endless supplies of money that the characters seem to have as the hop planes on the spur of the moment, have several hotels running con-currently, and buy new clothes at every turn. Still, a minor irritant in an otherwise good book.

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