So many writers have died in recent months that one hardly seems to be able to check the news without seeing notice of another one, and now comes news that Dick Francis, champion steeplechase jockey and award-winning novelist, has died at age 89.
Mr. Francis was one of the major influences during my early days as a writer. He is, in fact, the reason my heroine, Patty, is married to an amateur steeplechase jockey, and works as an assistant trainer in her father-in-law's stables. Mr. Francis' novels were centered around the world of steeplechase racing, but were much, much more than stories about the sport of kings. His heroes always strove to do the right thing, even in the face of nearly impossible odds, and in the end, good always overcame evil. That's something you don't see a lot anymore.
According to the post at Sarah Weinman's blog, there's one more novel coming, Crossfire, scheduled for release on August 24. Sarah's blog also has a collection of links to obituaries and articles about Mr. Francis.
He will certainly be missed.