Author Dick Francis dies aged 89

| 14/02/2010

Cayman Islands news, World News, Dick Francis(BBC): Writer Dick Francis, famous for his horse racing-based crime novels, has died aged 89, his family has said. Francis, who wrote some 40 best-selling novels during his career, was also a champion jockey in the 1940s and 50s and the Queen Mother’s jockey. He first published his autobiography in 1957, and his first thriller, Dead Cert, followed five years later. Francis’s most recent works, Dead Heat and Silks, were co-authored by his son Felix. He spent his final years in retirement in the Cayman Islands and his family said he "died of old age". A private funeral is due to be held in the Caribbean with a memorial service in London at a later stage, a spokesman added.

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Category: World News

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  1. David R. Legge says:

     While I rarely post to sites these days, I do want to take a moment to take note of Dick Francis’s recent passing. I knew Dick reasonably well, and spent some time with him not too long ago. We had a few dinners together over the years (including one small Christmas get-together at Government House when H. E. John Owen was in post), and shared a few other occasions which I will always carry with me.

    It is not an exaggeration to say that Dick was the best-known Caymanian resident ever to inhabit these islands. He was read, and loved, throughout the world. He once told me that of the first 48 books he wrote, every one of them was a best-seller. John Grisham has a long way to go to match that record.

    Dick was a gentleman and a gentle man. Two memories stand out:

    One Christmas morning, at about 6 o’clock, he walked down from his place at the Sovereign to our place at Laguna del Mar. He woke us all up by singing solo—full force, full vibrato—Christmas carol after Christmas carol. At that hour, we didn’t know whether to love him or hate him.

    On the day his dear wife Mary passed on, he and one of his close friends, Frank Ward, asked me to handle the "international press" inquiries that were sure to come. Dick, of course, was enormously distraught, and I was astounded and taken with the request. I did what I could.

    One humorous testimony to Dick’s quickness, even in his later years (and you’ll remember his "jockey days"): He and I jockeyed for position at the Martinizing Cleaners counter (when it was on lower Eastern Avenue). I don’t recall who won that race, but when we walked out together to our two similar Mercedes, Dick took one look and quipped, "Ah, twin harnesses!"

    To those of us who read, to those of us who write, and to those of us who just treasure, well, treasures of the human race at its best, we will dearly miss Dick Francis.

  2. Gretchen Allen says:

    Dick Francis Died Today

    By Gretchen Allen

    Dick Francis left this Earth today
    At last he went sweet Mary’s way
    So many left behind to grieve
    As he chose to take his leave
    God deigned to send good Marion
    Dick’s hand to hold and carry on
    Until dear Dick was finally gone
    But what a blessing to die at home
    And not to have to die alone
    And so, dear Dick, he came, he went
    Until the end he was a gent
    A jockey quite extraordinaire
    And always a man tres debonair
    A raconteur unto the end
    And never, ever in want of friend
    For the ladies, he always had an eye
    And himself with others, never shy
    He flew planes, he raced horses
    He stayed all of life’s courses
    He sired two sons
    And had tons of fun
    He lived life in full measure
    And it gave him great pleasure
    And despite Devon Loch
    I think Dick Francis had not
    A regret in it all
    Except maybe that fall
    And in this particular instance
    As he goes off into the distance
    I hear him say with great pride
    My God, what a ride!

     

     

  3. SueSand says:

    Saw him at Neptune’s Restaurant several times. After the third time he began saying hello or waving when he entered or left. He always seemed to treat the staff as if they were his personal friends. So sad to lose such a positive member of our community. Such a wonderful ambassador for Cayman…..why are our flags not at half staff for him? 

  4. Anonymous says:

    I met him a few times. He was a lovely man,and of course a great author. Cayman has lost a good friend in Mr. Francis.

  5. Marek says:

    I watched him engage Alan Alda for quite a long conversation when Alda was here for a book signing last year… was quite something to watch the two of them carry on…

    Mr. Francis lead a great life… many of us could learn from his example.

    He will be missed… 🙁

     

    Marek

  6. Anonymous says:

    May he rest in peace.  He brought wonderful joy to the world through his very entertaining books.  We’ll certainly miss him.

  7. Anonymous says:

    He and his son were on the BA flight with me from London to Cayman back in September of last year. He was very frail but gentle, charming and communicative with the crew and fellow passengers. And he loved Cayman.

  8. L says:

     You couldn’t read one of Dick Francis’s books without feeling his humanity and honorable nature.  His heroes were flawed yet could always be counted upon to do the right thing however painful it might have been.  They were brave and honest under pressure.

    We could use more people with values like that in this world.  He will be missed.

    My sympathies to his family and friends.

    L.

     

     

  9. Ex Pat says:

    Rest in peace Dick, and my condolences to family and friends.  I grew up on you in the UK, as a jockey and author.  I had every book… addictive reading.