"I wondered if I was dying. I wasn't afraid to die but, such was the pain in my gut, I wished it would happen soon."
The night before the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket sees the great and the good of the horse-racing community gathered for a prestigious black-tie gala dinner. It is a fitting testament to the glamour of the occasion that Max Moreton is cooking the evening's meal.
Max is something of a celebrity in Newmarket circles. He is the chef and founder of the racing town's favourite Michelin-starred restaurant, the Hay Net. However, spending the night in the throes of agony with chronic food poisoning is the last thing Max expects - such things simply aren't becoming of a professional chef. And the last thing he needs is to hear that his food is suspected of putting 24 of the guests in hospital.
Within hours, Max's restaurant is being forcibly closed, his reputation is teetering on the brink of ruin, and a court case seems to be looming. But the day is far from over, and soon Max Moreton finds himself desperately fighting for more than just his livelihood.
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Dead Heat by Dick Francis