Mystery writer Dick Francis has died at age 89.
A champion jockey in the 1950s, Francis later wrote murder mysteries set in the world of horse racing. He was a superstar author in Great Britain for nearly five decades.
In America, his equine bent made him regular answer on Jeopardy! and in crossword puzzles: “Race track writer” in the crosswords, or (in Jeopardy!-ese) “This mystery author’s books included Dead Heat, Whip Hand, and Odds Against.” If the clue was horses and writing, you knew the solution pretty much had to be Dick Francis.
The Times has a wonderful Francis slide show (source for the image above). The Guardian’s obituary describes his long connection with the Queen Mum, and mentions in passing the Shakespeare-style rumor that Francis’s wife wrote his books for him.
So long, Mr. Francis, and thanks for all the answers.