Reflex by Dick Francis
A jockey’s professional life is limited by age and health. Philip Nore is at the height of his profession. While he will never be an exceptional jockey, he is good and wins his share of races. He also is an amateur photographer, taking pictures that catch his attention around the race tracks and in the racing business. Recently a professional racetrack photographer died in a car accident. The family gives Nore his photography supplies.
As he goes through the supplies and photographs he discovers some questionable information. When the photographer’s house is burgled, his widow beaten up, then his house burned to the ground, Nore knows there are dangerous secrets in the subtly hidden photographs. He starts looking into what he has seen. What was the dead photographer doing? Had he been a thriving blackmailer? Was he killed for what he knew?
Nore has another major nuisance in his life. His single mother had died years earlier from heroin addiction. Now his grandmother wants him to see her before she dies. His only contact before this with the old lady was when his mother had asked for support and was turned away. He does not want to see her now. She didn’t want to see him before, why should he see her now? When the lawyer finally convinces him to visit, he discovers he has a half-sister. His grandmother wants her found.
This book is first rate. Francis takes his knowledge of the horse racing world and weaves an involving mystery around it. The photographic processes and background are well described as Nore discovers the secrets of the dead man. I had heard about Francis’ work and had had it recommended in the past. Those people were on target with the advice.