Silks is the latest in a long series of books by Dick Francis that revolve around the world of — mostly British — horse racing. It is the third after the death of his wife, and the second written with his son, Felix Francis, whom Dick rescued from teaching physics.
The title is a double-entendre, referring to the silks worn by jockeys and the silks worn by barristers. Silks’ hero is a barrister whose particular pleasure in life, especially after his wife’s death, is amateur racing. Geoffrey Mason owns and successfully rides his own steeplechase horse.
The prose is pedantic and prosaic at times, especially when describing the mechanics of racing and the world of British law, but after a slow start, the plot races ever faster, involving beatings, murder, a vicious villain, a slow-burning love interest, and a barrister hero.
This is not the scampering, easy-going jocular Dick Francis of yore, but it’s a good airplane read. With Ed McBain gone and Robert Parker doddering, Francis’ fodder is better than none.