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Benedict Juliard is an aspiring jockey who must bypass his dreams of horse racing to help his father, George, in his quest to enter the world of politics. At 18, the reserved Benedict is asked by his father to enter into a pact: Neither of the two will do anything that could somehow hinder or destroy George's blossoming political career. Young Benedict, who has no stronger Benedict Juliard is an aspiring jockey who must bypass his dreams of horse racing to help his father, George, in his quest to enter the world of politics. At 18, the reserved Benedict is asked by his father to enter into a pact: Neither of the two will do anything that could somehow hinder or destroy George's blossoming political career. Young Benedict, who has no stronger ambition than to ride steeplechase as an amateur jockey, agrees to the pact, without possibly knowing what lies ahead. Twelve years pass, and Ben has since abandoned his dream of making a career on the racetrack. Like his father, Ben enters the political arena, becoming George Juliard's closest ally and most trusted confidant as he makes his move to become prime minister. However, Ben suddenly finds himself the target of a fierce attack brought on by his father's brutally ambitious enemies. Through his son, George Juliard is discredited and destroyed just as he makes his drive for the prime ministership, leading Ben into an existence of treachery and lies. As these events unfold, Ben quickly realizes that it is his responsibility to protect his father's career as well as his own, but more important, he must protect their lives. Like past Francis books, 10 LB. Penalty is a masterfully plotted mystery that also examines the power of family and the bond between father and son.


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Benedict Juliard is an aspiring jockey who must bypass his dreams of horse racing to help his father, George, in his quest to enter the world of politics. At 18, the reserved Benedict is asked by his father to enter into a pact: Neither of the two will do anything that could somehow hinder or destroy George's blossoming political career. Young Benedict, who has no stronger Benedict Juliard is an aspiring jockey who must bypass his dreams of horse racing to help his father, George, in his quest to enter the world of politics. At 18, the reserved Benedict is asked by his father to enter into a pact: Neither of the two will do anything that could somehow hinder or destroy George's blossoming political career. Young Benedict, who has no stronger ambition than to ride steeplechase as an amateur jockey, agrees to the pact, without possibly knowing what lies ahead. Twelve years pass, and Ben has since abandoned his dream of making a career on the racetrack. Like his father, Ben enters the political arena, becoming George Juliard's closest ally and most trusted confidant as he makes his move to become prime minister. However, Ben suddenly finds himself the target of a fierce attack brought on by his father's brutally ambitious enemies. Through his son, George Juliard is discredited and destroyed just as he makes his drive for the prime ministership, leading Ben into an existence of treachery and lies. As these events unfold, Ben quickly realizes that it is his responsibility to protect his father's career as well as his own, but more important, he must protect their lives. Like past Francis books, 10 LB. Penalty is a masterfully plotted mystery that also examines the power of family and the bond between father and son.

30 review for 10 lb Penalty

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    10 lb. Penalty is a bit different than most Dick Francis novels. To begin with, the typical Dick Francis protagonist is a male somewhere in his thirties. He's sexually experienced, and usually there's a woman lurking somewhere with whom he has been or may be involved. The story usually involves some dastardly business with a very evil villain lurking in the background who will almost certainly pose a great physical danger to the protagonist before the villain gets his comeuppance. Most of the no 10 lb. Penalty is a bit different than most Dick Francis novels. To begin with, the typical Dick Francis protagonist is a male somewhere in his thirties. He's sexually experienced, and usually there's a woman lurking somewhere with whom he has been or may be involved. The story usually involves some dastardly business with a very evil villain lurking in the background who will almost certainly pose a great physical danger to the protagonist before the villain gets his comeuppance. Most of the novels are set in the world of horseracing. In this case, however, the protagonist is a seventeen-year-old boy named Ben Juliard, a virgin who dreams only of being a jockey. Ben's mother died at his birth; his father is a very successful businessman, but Ben has spent much of his life away at school and he and his father barely know each other. Ben is now working for a racehorse trainer and occasionally riding as an amateur jockey. Sadly he's not very good at it and, although he loves the thrill of being on a fast horse, deep down, he realizes that he doesn't have what it takes to be a truly successful jockey. He's stunned when his employer fires him, accusing him of abusing drugs, a totally baseless charge. Left with no option, Ben joins his father who is beginning a campaign for Parliament in a by-election, hoping to replace a member who has recently died. It turns out that Ben's father conspired to have him fired so that he could join the campaign. As a widower, the father, George, believes that he needs a family member by his side to lend authenticity to the campaign effort. Rather than whining about the injustice of it all, Ben accepts the situation and we soon discover that he has a natural aptitude for dealing with people, women in particular, that will be of great benefit to the campaign. The heart of this story involves the evolution of the relationship between Ben and his father. We also learn a great deal about political campaigns in Great Britain and get a tour of Number 10 Downing Street in the process. There are a couple of crimes committed, but they aren't very scary; the villain is not nearly in the same league as many of the others that Francis has created, and thus in the end there's not nearly as much tension in this book as there is in most other Dick Francis novels. If I have any problem with the book, it lies in the fact that Ben Juliard seems awfully wise and mature for a boy who is only seventeen and who has not seen or experienced much of the world. He thinks and behaves much like one of Francis's usual and much older protagonists, and that took me out of the story some of the time because I had trouble believing that a boy of his age would act in the way that Ben does. Still, it's an enjoyable read, and fans of Dick Francis are sure to like it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    "Rumors destroy reputations quicker than truth.” I have read many of Dick Francis's novels and I found this one to be a bit of a departure from the usual fare. Usually the protagonist is a former jockey who has embarked on a second career. In this story the protagonist is Benedict Juliard, a seventeen year old amateur jockey. When the story opens he is in the process of being fired. Accused of taking drugs. The accusation is false of course and the firing was arranged by his father who has politi "Rumors destroy reputations quicker than truth.” I have read many of Dick Francis's novels and I found this one to be a bit of a departure from the usual fare. Usually the protagonist is a former jockey who has embarked on a second career. In this story the protagonist is Benedict Juliard, a seventeen year old amateur jockey. When the story opens he is in the process of being fired. Accused of taking drugs. The accusation is false of course and the firing was arranged by his father who has political aspirations and wants Ben to come work on his campaign. Ben, as we have come to expect from the author's heroes is intelligent; ethical; and courageous. Although it is a by-election and a minor office someone apparently wants to kill his father. Ben was brought into the election to be a "substitute wife", smile at people and be nice but proves adept at being a bodyguard and protecting his father. This isn't much of a whodunit. It is more of a bonding between father and son. Politics and yellow journalism. A boy who becomes a man. And for those of us not familiar an insight into the British election process.

  3. 5 out of 5

    MTK

    Τα περισσότερα βιβλία του Francis (ιστορίες μυστηρίου στον κόσμο των αγγλικών συνήθως ιπποδρομιών) είναι πια παρωχημένα, αλλά προσωπικά τα διαβάζω τόσο ευχάριστα όσο την Αγκάθα Κρίστι. Ίσως γιατί δεν ξέρω τίποτα για τις ιπποδρομίες, άρα τα αντιμετωπίζω λίγο σαν παραμύθια.

  4. 4 out of 5

    W

    Ben Juliard is a seventeen year old,who plans to spend his gap year as a steeplechase jockey.His millionaire father,George, is not too impressed by his plans. George Juliard has plans of his own.He wants to contest an election for the British parliament,and wants his son by his side,as a bodyguard. George Juliard has enemies and has also acquired new political opponents.But his resourceful son,though only 17,always comes to the rescue. 10 lb. Penalty is a very interesting look at the world of Brit Ben Juliard is a seventeen year old,who plans to spend his gap year as a steeplechase jockey.His millionaire father,George, is not too impressed by his plans. George Juliard has plans of his own.He wants to contest an election for the British parliament,and wants his son by his side,as a bodyguard. George Juliard has enemies and has also acquired new political opponents.But his resourceful son,though only 17,always comes to the rescue. 10 lb. Penalty is a very interesting look at the world of British politcs and the campaigning process.Horses are inevitably there,but this works very nicely as a political thriller.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Michael

    This was a re-read for me, one of my favorites by Dick Francis.

  6. 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kwoomac

    7/6/12 An old reliable. 17 year old Benedict Juliard, true to Dick Francis' classic prototype, is wise beyond his years, cool under pressure, and honorable where others submit to temptation. Ben is recruited by his somewhat distant father(another oft-seen character) to be present while he runs for office. For Ben it means giving up his dream of being a steeplechase jockey. Someone is trying to keep the elder Juliard from winning and Ben is out to figure out who it is. The first part of the book 7/6/12 An old reliable. 17 year old Benedict Juliard, true to Dick Francis' classic prototype, is wise beyond his years, cool under pressure, and honorable where others submit to temptation. Ben is recruited by his somewhat distant father(another oft-seen character) to be present while he runs for office. For Ben it means giving up his dream of being a steeplechase jockey. Someone is trying to keep the elder Juliard from winning and Ben is out to figure out who it is. The first part of the book was fast paced. It slowed down about two thirds in, when Ben goes off to school but it did hold my attention. I can always count on Dick Francis to deliver a solid story with a hero I enjoy. 6/20/21 Interestingly, this story is a little different from other Dick Francis novels in that it covers a five year stretch. Usually, the time line is to a much shorter time frame. Here we see Benedict Julliard as he matures from a naive 17-year-old boy to a savvy 22-year-old man. Another change is that between father and son. To start, they have the typical conflicted Dick Francis relationship. They are cordial at their infrequent visits. Over the five gear period, the two learn a lot about each other. This results in not only mutual respect but love. Not physically affectionate, but love just the same.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    This review is from my POV as an author, so easily skip over it if you will: Unlike most of Dick Francis' novels, the action in 10 lb Penalty spans years rather than weeks and months. This is of interest when you consider story structure. In other of his novels, say Reflex for instance, the plot is linear and uninterrupted by passages of time. Ageing jockey (mid-30s)falls off a horse and begins to consider what to do with the rest of his life. There are twin, intertwined plots, the one dealing w This review is from my POV as an author, so easily skip over it if you will: Unlike most of Dick Francis' novels, the action in 10 lb Penalty spans years rather than weeks and months. This is of interest when you consider story structure. In other of his novels, say Reflex for instance, the plot is linear and uninterrupted by passages of time. Ageing jockey (mid-30s)falls off a horse and begins to consider what to do with the rest of his life. There are twin, intertwined plots, the one dealing with family/personal matters and the other with the death of a photographer who may or may not have been a blackmailer and may or may not have been murdered...the salient point being that events chug along to an eventful and satisfying climax as they so often do in Dick Francis novels. But 10 lb Penalty can be said to be structured as a complete novel with a novella tacked on. Readers might question whether this is a completely satisfying way to structure a murder mystery thriller, and well they might. As a writer, I was interested to see how Francis handled the transitions from one period of time to another. You see, the 1st complete story, the novel, ends about 2/3 of the way through the book and the author then has to segway through several years to get to the novella. An odd and interesting story structure, to be sure, and instead of the usual blathering praise, the critics, while generous, were less gushing. For me, I found the exercise instructional: perhaps you know how critics and teachers always insist on authors "showing" the story instead of "telling" it. Well, this is one novel where, at key junctures I could feel the story being told. Instructional because the advice is so easy to say, but so difficult to follow. And encouraging to see that even a master writer like Francis can be forced to fall back on "telling" when trapped between a genre that demands immediacy and a plot line that has a need to lay out the passage of the years.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    I love all of Dick Francis's books. He died a few years ago and his son Felix has taken over writing. I think he's doing pretty well. This was written by Dick himself several years ago, and I'm not sure how I missed it. Seventeen year old Ben who's into steeplechase is asked by his father to help him run for parliamentary office. Lots of info about how elections work in England as well as info about horseracing insurance companies. The characters are what make Francis's books so wonderful and he I love all of Dick Francis's books. He died a few years ago and his son Felix has taken over writing. I think he's doing pretty well. This was written by Dick himself several years ago, and I'm not sure how I missed it. Seventeen year old Ben who's into steeplechase is asked by his father to help him run for parliamentary office. Lots of info about how elections work in England as well as info about horseracing insurance companies. The characters are what make Francis's books so wonderful and he doesn't disappoint. I recommend this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Defenestraethe

    14 Feb 1998 26 Nov 1998 19 Sep 2016 Saturday was the fall library booksale. I had to pick up some holds and check them out at the front desk, so the girls got to hunting. The self scanner was down, and there were lines for the librarians so it took me a few minutes to get back to the sale room. I walked in and they immediately started handing me things they knew I would want, and pointing out where other things (like Dick Francis hardcovers) were. I picked up several delightful finds, but of my hau 14 Feb 1998 26 Nov 1998 19 Sep 2016 Saturday was the fall library booksale. I had to pick up some holds and check them out at the front desk, so the girls got to hunting. The self scanner was down, and there were lines for the librarians so it took me a few minutes to get back to the sale room. I walked in and they immediately started handing me things they knew I would want, and pointing out where other things (like Dick Francis hardcovers) were. I picked up several delightful finds, but of my haul, only two were not chosen first by my kids. They get me. They also cleaned up for themselves: Al Franken and Stephen Colbert, an aircraft/flight coffee table book, a smallish two-volume hardcover Complete Shakespeare, and another copy of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, because sometimes one needs one's own copy. I also bought a Francis hardcover that I already own, but that's okay, because I'll donate the spare back to the library, and pick up whatever I'm missing next time. So, I don't know why I didn't have this one, unless there's a random box of books hiding somewhere unpacked. We've lived here eleven years, but that is a possibility. Review: very much like Hot Money in the son-bodyguarding-the-father bit. The son is 17 when this starts, 23 at the end, and although he is the narrator, there's no mistaking this for YA; the voice is looking back from some distance. Feminism fun fact: no one is mocked for being a feminist. On the contrary, there is real understanding of the special disadvantages women suffer (in this case, politicians getting bad press about their clothes, rather than their policies). Oddly, for a book about politics, parties are never identified. Surreally, the by-election takes 1 month, and strict spending limits are enforced. I know it's not the same as a general election, but I'm not sure we in the US could even elect a dog catcher now without spending billions and dragging it out for years. When will our long national nightmare be over? Personal copy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Another enjoyable Dick Francis story. Here, in addition to learning about horse ownership and amateur jockeying, readers learn about the election process for MPs in England in the 70s. This is the first really political story from Francis that I’ve read, and I liked the description of local campaigning and rising political fortune, including some descriptions of 10 Downing Street written by someone who must have visited. (view spoiler)[ In most all Francis books I’ve read (and I see I’ve now rea Another enjoyable Dick Francis story. Here, in addition to learning about horse ownership and amateur jockeying, readers learn about the election process for MPs in England in the 70s. This is the first really political story from Francis that I’ve read, and I liked the description of local campaigning and rising political fortune, including some descriptions of 10 Downing Street written by someone who must have visited. (view spoiler)[ In most all Francis books I’ve read (and I see I’ve now read more than half of his mysteries), the protagonist faces pain and torture as a major part of the narrative. Overcoming pain is a common feature of Francis heroes. I was pleasantly surprised to see the protagonist in this book, a college-aged son of an up-and-coming politician, to only be injured two or three times throughout the book, and only facing life-or-death injuries on the last two pages (shot). Beside that episode, the only other violence in this one is a fall and concussion, a lady punched and violently saved with a drastic tackle, and the only death in the book, a steeplechase horse injured and destroyed. There may have been a couple other tackles and punches and an episode with threatening machinery, but this is by far the least violent Francis book that I can remember! And only attempted murder and libel in this one, a minor set of indiscretions compared to the normal mystery. This one really focuses on a political campaign, and I enjoyed the change of pace. (hide spoiler)] A fun read, especially if you are interested in “retail politics” in England a half a century back. And occasional digressions into steeplechase.

  12. 5 out of 5

    JodiP

    This was a bit of a departure for Francis, in that it was more of a political thriller than a mystery set in the racing world. Racing was only very peripherally involved, but it was a delight. The hero is an unlikely 18 (who grows to be 22 during course the book) very bright young man who figures out who is trying to kill his father. It was delightful and entertaining, one of the best of Francis's work. This was a bit of a departure for Francis, in that it was more of a political thriller than a mystery set in the racing world. Racing was only very peripherally involved, but it was a delight. The hero is an unlikely 18 (who grows to be 22 during course the book) very bright young man who figures out who is trying to kill his father. It was delightful and entertaining, one of the best of Francis's work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chana

    A young man is called to his barely known father's side to help him with his political aspirations. Said young man, Benedict, is pulled from his life and work as an amateur jockey, and accused by the stable owner of drug use as well. Benedict doesn't do drugs, but OK, we do come back to that topic. In the meantime, Benedict proves himself quite a valuable asset, especially at protecting his father's life. Time passes, his father's political aspirations have reached the top levels, and the false d A young man is called to his barely known father's side to help him with his political aspirations. Said young man, Benedict, is pulled from his life and work as an amateur jockey, and accused by the stable owner of drug use as well. Benedict doesn't do drugs, but OK, we do come back to that topic. In the meantime, Benedict proves himself quite a valuable asset, especially at protecting his father's life. Time passes, his father's political aspirations have reached the top levels, and the false drug charges against Benedict are raised again, as is the specter of death for his father.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Highton

    A story about parliamentary politics, special advisers and the gutter press, with horse racing only of marginal relevance, rattles along in typical Francis style.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Racing related thrillers - Ben Juliard, plans to spend his "gap year" as an amateur steeplechase jockey. His benevolent but disapproving father, George, arranges for Ben to be fired, however, to help him win a by-election to replace a deceased member of Parliament. George has designs on Disraeli's greasy pole and wants Ben to be "a sort of substitute wife. To come with me in public. To be terribly nice to people." Despite determined enemies (the ambitious widow of the dead legislator, her "emine Racing related thrillers - Ben Juliard, plans to spend his "gap year" as an amateur steeplechase jockey. His benevolent but disapproving father, George, arranges for Ben to be fired, however, to help him win a by-election to replace a deceased member of Parliament. George has designs on Disraeli's greasy pole and wants Ben to be "a sort of substitute wife. To come with me in public. To be terribly nice to people." Despite determined enemies (the ambitious widow of the dead legislator, her "eminence grise" adviser and a sleazy reporter out for dirt on anyone), and three possible attacks on the Juliards (shooting, car sabotage, arson), George prevails in the vote. Five years later, he's a popular cabinet minister (for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), while Ben has found happiness working in racing insurance and as a successful steeplechaser. A cabinet crisis makes George a leading contender for prime minister, and Ben worries that the unknown previous assailants will try again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alyx Hackebeil

    Such a refreshing read. To begin, I found this book slightly hard to get into. I struggled to get into a groove reading this. But after the first initial chapters of setting the plot and introducing the characters, boy, was this a good book. I found myself thinking about the various suspects and ways that this book may end even when I was not reading the book. I've read a few Dick Francis novels prior to 10 lb. Penalty. I must say, this was not what I thought it would be. My favorite part was the Such a refreshing read. To begin, I found this book slightly hard to get into. I struggled to get into a groove reading this. But after the first initial chapters of setting the plot and introducing the characters, boy, was this a good book. I found myself thinking about the various suspects and ways that this book may end even when I was not reading the book. I've read a few Dick Francis novels prior to 10 lb. Penalty. I must say, this was not what I thought it would be. My favorite part was the change in relationship between Ben and his "dad". It was great to watch the transformation and made me think that I could actually learn something from a fiction novel. All in all, 4.5 stars from me on 10 lb. Penalty! Only way it could be better, is to somehow catch a hold of my attention sooner!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bratell

    After reading quite a few of Dick Francis' books and with the pattern well established this one book came as a bit of a surprise, but sadly not in the positive way. It is like he is trying a new approach and it doesn't work. Don't get me wrong, ninety percent is still the same trusted pattern, but there are strange gaps in the story, tens of pages where there is nothing exciting going on even in the background, and the narrator is suddenly somewhat outside the main story rather than in it. Furth After reading quite a few of Dick Francis' books and with the pattern well established this one book came as a bit of a surprise, but sadly not in the positive way. It is like he is trying a new approach and it doesn't work. Don't get me wrong, ninety percent is still the same trusted pattern, but there are strange gaps in the story, tens of pages where there is nothing exciting going on even in the background, and the narrator is suddenly somewhat outside the main story rather than in it. Furthermore people behave even less logical than usual. So if you like Dick Francis novels, pick one of the others before this one. Rating - two stars: "It was ok".

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    One of Francis' disappointing thrillers. From my notes in 1997, when I read it, I found it to be lacking in suspense, awkwardly plotted, and not even well-written compared to Francis' other books. In case it sounds like I don't like his novels, I do: I had an almost complete collection of them at one point, and it was the norm for me to get each new one as a present when it came out at Christmas time - and frequently I'd be finished it before Christmas Day was over. Thankfully, later books by Fr One of Francis' disappointing thrillers. From my notes in 1997, when I read it, I found it to be lacking in suspense, awkwardly plotted, and not even well-written compared to Francis' other books. In case it sounds like I don't like his novels, I do: I had an almost complete collection of them at one point, and it was the norm for me to get each new one as a present when it came out at Christmas time - and frequently I'd be finished it before Christmas Day was over. Thankfully, later books by Francis were back on form.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brian Leslie

    I am a huge Dick Francis fan, but this book was just not up to his normal standards. The story of a politician trying to get elected and using his son for validity just felt forced and unbelievable. The characters were hard to get in touch with as they didn't come across as real people. Overall I wouldn't recommend this as an example of Francis' writing and storytelling ability. I am a huge Dick Francis fan, but this book was just not up to his normal standards. The story of a politician trying to get elected and using his son for validity just felt forced and unbelievable. The characters were hard to get in touch with as they didn't come across as real people. Overall I wouldn't recommend this as an example of Francis' writing and storytelling ability.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I love Dick Francis, he is a good clean read, without all the foul language, and explicit scenes. I've been a fan of his for about 25-30 years, and just found this book again and it was fun to re-read it. He is very inspiring to me. This story is very suspenseful, a barn burner! Highly recommend if you like British, horses, and some politics thrown in. I love Dick Francis, he is a good clean read, without all the foul language, and explicit scenes. I've been a fan of his for about 25-30 years, and just found this book again and it was fun to re-read it. He is very inspiring to me. This story is very suspenseful, a barn burner! Highly recommend if you like British, horses, and some politics thrown in.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    I listened to the inimitable Tony Britton, who always does a sterling job. Horses and racing play a very small part in this Francis mystery without a murder, leaving room for plenty of political posturing and soap boxing. (Did you know that "you can't bribe your way into Parliament"? That's the second novel I've read lately that tells me that. They were both written before the scandals of the 2000s.) Our Hero is a wide-eyed 17 yr old apprentice who has just been sacked under false pretenses so t I listened to the inimitable Tony Britton, who always does a sterling job. Horses and racing play a very small part in this Francis mystery without a murder, leaving room for plenty of political posturing and soap boxing. (Did you know that "you can't bribe your way into Parliament"? That's the second novel I've read lately that tells me that. They were both written before the scandals of the 2000s.) Our Hero is a wide-eyed 17 yr old apprentice who has just been sacked under false pretenses so that --surprise!--he can help his millionaire daddy with a political campaign to stand for Parliament in Dorset of all places. True to Francis form, all and sundry find themselves opening their hearts to Young Ben and telling him all sorts of secrets and stuff. The baddy was pretty obvious from the time that character showed up, but this is Planet Francis you know. Francis continues to work through his daddy issues, this time as Ben nannies Dad, acting as body guard, secretary, sleuth, you name it he does it and does it well. At one point, Ben say shock leaves him "numb from the ankles down" which must surely have been an editorial error. After all, the only thing below your ankles is your feet! I did get the feeling the novel was originally going to end earlier, and someone read through it and said, "No, that's not good enough" so yet more excitement (or whatever) was added to the end, giving Francis the chance to sound off about tabloid journalists. I did wonder why Ben (or Francis) was so unkind in his descriptions of absolutely all the female characters, who are either kindly frumps or bitter, brittle fashion mavens. One of the two certainly doesn't think much of women as cabinet ministers! At least there's no sex, kinky or otherwise, this time. And of course we have a male character with one of the bizarre names Francis is known for--"Alderney Wyvern" no less! An alderney is a cow, and a wyvern is a mythical beast, but I doubt it's a British surname for all that.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Randell Green

    Favorite book by Francis of the 5 I have read. 9/10 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeri

    I doubt any mystery reader has to be introduced to Dick Francis, so I suppose it could be enough to say that this is another solid book from a master. 10 LB. PENALTY has perhaps somewhat less mystery than many of Francis' titles (I'd call it suspense, myself) but has the likable, ingenious, and self-effacing hero that Francis' fans (of which I have been numbered for many, many years) have come to expect. (Ben does not, however, seem like a "typical" 17 year-old to me!) I particularly enjoyed the I doubt any mystery reader has to be introduced to Dick Francis, so I suppose it could be enough to say that this is another solid book from a master. 10 LB. PENALTY has perhaps somewhat less mystery than many of Francis' titles (I'd call it suspense, myself) but has the likable, ingenious, and self-effacing hero that Francis' fans (of which I have been numbered for many, many years) have come to expect. (Ben does not, however, seem like a "typical" 17 year-old to me!) I particularly enjoyed the growing relationship between father and son. Francis' is known for the racing background to many of his novels (which this one shares) and also for extensive research of other details (the wholesale gem market for one book, investment banking for another). The political backdrop for this one reads both true and personal (I can't help but wonder at his source) and makes for a fascinating, page-turning read. I devoured 10 LB. PENALTY in one sitting, and recommend it to longtime fans and new readers alike.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Another winner by my boy, Dick Francis. He never lets me down. In this one, we have a wonderful everyman in Benedict Juliard. Responsible, not flashy, but definitely a great combo of smart, shrewd, and forthright. What Francis does best, in my opinion. We meet young Benedict at the tender age of 17, ready for his gap year to ride races and hopefully never return to school. Unfortunately, his rather absentee father has other plans, and Benedict is thrust in the gritty world of politics. People in Another winner by my boy, Dick Francis. He never lets me down. In this one, we have a wonderful everyman in Benedict Juliard. Responsible, not flashy, but definitely a great combo of smart, shrewd, and forthright. What Francis does best, in my opinion. We meet young Benedict at the tender age of 17, ready for his gap year to ride races and hopefully never return to school. Unfortunately, his rather absentee father has other plans, and Benedict is thrust in the gritty world of politics. People indeed do want to vote for the elder Juliard, and there are people who are just as intent on stopping him from climbing the political ladder. Unlike most of his books, this one actually spans 5 years, and the story takes some interesting twists and turns. Not to worry, though, because our everyman stays lawful good until the end, and we get a rushed, but satisfying ending. 3.5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    C.R. Sedore

    This was one of those story's where if you like a story that's happing in the moment this won't be for you. The story is told over an extended period of time. The action is stretched out and if you're gripped into it by chapter 3 your probably not going to. I was pleased by the book. It had some high morals like, never give up. I cared about the characters. I easily foreshadowed who the guilty party was. Usually, that would bug me, but the way it was written for story structure made the story mor This was one of those story's where if you like a story that's happing in the moment this won't be for you. The story is told over an extended period of time. The action is stretched out and if you're gripped into it by chapter 3 your probably not going to. I was pleased by the book. It had some high morals like, never give up. I cared about the characters. I easily foreshadowed who the guilty party was. Usually, that would bug me, but the way it was written for story structure made the story more thrilling. I loved how Ben learns more about his father once he is pulled away from being a Jockey to help him in his election. The book as an intense moment that you will be glad you waited for. I believe the best part of this book were the characters. I rooted for them through the entire book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    This is one of my favorite Dick Francis books. I own the paperback (a bit faded) and now have the Kindle edition. It deals with the son of a successful wealthy man running for Parliament. The son aspired to be a jockey but has to come to terms with the fact that he is not good enough. He is able to help his father's campaign and deal with various threats to his father's life. I always enjoy what I learn from the backgrounds in Dick Francis mysteries and this is especially interesting because of This is one of my favorite Dick Francis books. I own the paperback (a bit faded) and now have the Kindle edition. It deals with the son of a successful wealthy man running for Parliament. The son aspired to be a jockey but has to come to terms with the fact that he is not good enough. He is able to help his father's campaign and deal with various threats to his father's life. I always enjoy what I learn from the backgrounds in Dick Francis mysteries and this is especially interesting because of what I learned about Parlimentary politics. THEIR election campaigns don't go on for years.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    Not so much about horses, but it was an enjoyable read. In this book too, we have a very loveable hero. Ben seemed very mature for his age. Though it was repeatedly mentioned that Ben was only 18 years old, the way he behaved, i kept picturing him as at least 30 years old and his father as a 60 + yr old ! George Julliard came across a very selfish person. But Ben was a son any parent would be proud of. There were interesting details about British politics, horse insurance, some lessons in physics Not so much about horses, but it was an enjoyable read. In this book too, we have a very loveable hero. Ben seemed very mature for his age. Though it was repeatedly mentioned that Ben was only 18 years old, the way he behaved, i kept picturing him as at least 30 years old and his father as a 60 + yr old ! George Julliard came across a very selfish person. But Ben was a son any parent would be proud of. There were interesting details about British politics, horse insurance, some lessons in physics ...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Timmons

    An excellent read. Shorter then some of the other books of his that I've read, and this one wasn't as detailed either. Also you could tell by the first couple of chapters who the guilty party is. I did learn some new words for my vocabulary, and didn't realize that there was a word for such things as well. A good book for those who are just starting to read Dick Francis. After this one they can move on to the more broader and detailed novels by him. An excellent read. Shorter then some of the other books of his that I've read, and this one wasn't as detailed either. Also you could tell by the first couple of chapters who the guilty party is. I did learn some new words for my vocabulary, and didn't realize that there was a word for such things as well. A good book for those who are just starting to read Dick Francis. After this one they can move on to the more broader and detailed novels by him.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tim Flanagan

    Another good Dick Francis book - this time giving an incite into Politics. If you've not tried one, don't be fooled by the "horseracing" connection - they all have some connection to the horseracing world but the main focus is usually something else entirely. They're well researched and you can't help but learn something new from each one. Another good Dick Francis book - this time giving an incite into Politics. If you've not tried one, don't be fooled by the "horseracing" connection - they all have some connection to the horseracing world but the main focus is usually something else entirely. They're well researched and you can't help but learn something new from each one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Dick Francis is dependable. He doesn't write my favorite mysteries- cozies, with emotionally resonant characters and relationships- nor does he write sensationalist high-action thrillers. Instead, he writes pleasing works that feature a large cast of characters and a plot based narrative. His primary characters are likable, and his villains are villainous. This was a good one. Dick Francis is dependable. He doesn't write my favorite mysteries- cozies, with emotionally resonant characters and relationships- nor does he write sensationalist high-action thrillers. Instead, he writes pleasing works that feature a large cast of characters and a plot based narrative. His primary characters are likable, and his villains are villainous. This was a good one.

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