01 August 2008

A Guilty Secret ...

This summer I am rereading one by one all of the Dick Francis books I have. I think there are eighteen out on shelves, and a similar number in boxes in the garage.
The guilty secret is that I think he is a much, much, better writer of crime fiction than Agatha Christie. After the Doctor Who episode about her, I took down "Death in the Clouds" to reread it and found it to be not just dated, not just as poorly written as a Jeffrey Archer, but badly plotted as well.
Dick Francis has created a world in which he can be absolutely confident as he writes and in which I can happily suspend my disbelief. Sheer brilliance!


Mac McLernon said...

I have to admit that some of her later stuff wasn't up to much plot-wise... but earlier ones, like "Lord Edgware Dies" were pretty entertaining!

On the side of the angels said...

Fighting talk Ttony !!!
I'm not overly fond of Death in the Clouds ; but some of her Novels are incredible - you don't read them to expect Flaubert or Dostoyevsky ; but what genres of crime fiction has Dick Francis invented ? Dame Agatha actuated at least a dozen ; and still remains unbeaten in at least half of them .
Mac isn't being totally fair - some of her best were written when she was well past her prime ; amid the dross we have third girl, towards zero, taken at the flood, endless night etc - At her height she was unsurpassble : "and then there were none", "five little pigs" etc etc etc