"Sadly, death at the races is not uncommon. However, three in one afternoon was sufficiently unusual to raise more than an eyebrow."
It's the third death that really troubles former champion jump-jockey Sid Halley. He knows the perils of racing all too well, but in his day, jockeys didn't usually reach the finishing line with three .38 rounds in the chest. But this is precisely how he finds Huw Walker, the new winner of the Triumph Hurdle and Halley's friend. Now former friend. Walker was riding one of Lord Enstone's horses in the Hurdle and it was the inimitable owner who invited Halley in the first place. His brief: to make discrete enquiries into alleged race fixing. Are results being rigged? Are bookies taking a cut? And if so, are trainers and jockeys playing a dangerous game with stakes far higher than they realise...
Halley's quest for answers draws him ever deeper into the darker side of the race game, in a life-or-death power-play that will push him to his very limits: both professionally and personally.
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Original text copyright ©2006 Dick Francis; This abridgement copyright ©2006 Penguin Books Ltd