Banker by Dick Francis


Dick Francis
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We have read every Dick Francis novel, some forty (!) in all. We marvel at the author's ability to endear the lead characters to the reader within just a few pages. While our hero is always a man, it is always a man men would like to be like, and woman would like to find! Ted Ekaterin is no exception -- while he works in an investment bank, making daily decisions on big business loans, he is all of humble, courteous and pleasant, sensitive, caring, personable and smart. No wonder he is successful, even if his family founded the institution in question. \n\nOne of Tim's loans is to syndicate a champion racehorse getting ready to perform at stud. From this development we learn not only a good deal about investment banking but the inside of the horse breeding business, especially from a financial viewpoint. When the offspring start to show birth defects, irregularly, our hero is suspicious enough to practically start living at the stables to unravel what is going on. When the horse owner's daughter, with whom Tim has developed an affectionate plutonic relationship, is murdered, the mystery gets really serious. Are the TV celebrity horse "healer" and herbal remedy specialist and his "cooperative" veterinarian bad guys or victims? Can Tim's pharmacist "girlfriend" help trace some important clues? Will the horse farm and Tim's reputation survive?\n\nAn interesting sub-plot, one presented in poignant prose, concerns Tim's boss Gordon, who is slowly losing the war with Parkinson's disease, and Gordon's wife Judith. While it's not clear how it got started, Tim and Judith find themselves in love, but are too honorable to ever act on their feelings. Toward the end of the book, when Gordon's health is in serious jeopardy, will Tim and Judith get the chance to unite?\n\nFrancis is known for relatively non-violent mysteries, with pleasant leading characters, and enough suspense to entertain, even if at a level less than the thrills and chills of writers like Patterson or Sandford. Nonetheless, we love his characters, and never fail to enjoy his stories. "Banker" is indeed one of our favorite books of all time.\n