A 20th century writer of detective fiction. A British citizen, Dick Francis was born in 1920 in Wales. He was a life-long horseman and became a trainer in 1938. After a WWII stint in the Royal Air Force, he returned to the racing world where he was a successful jockey - winning 350 races and riding for the Queen Mother. His most famous race may have been a loss: with a five-length lead in the home stretch of the Grand National, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62fPLtL8h7s his horse unexpectedly jumped and fell on its stomach]]. After retiring from racing, he took up writing, penning a number of novels (and a few short stories.) His earliest works featured a jockey as a protagonist, and while later stories would occasionally branch out, he retained links to the horse world in nearly all his stories.

The influence of his wife (Mary nee Brenchley) on his writing has been argued to be quite large -- she was a publisher's reader and also a pilot (Francis also piloted aircraft during WWII). Francis himself described their efforts as teamwork. Works written after Mary's death in 2000 have arguably suffered in quality. Francis also wrote four novels with his son, Felix Francis, who went on to publish other novels after Dick Francis's death in 2010.

For his work, Dick Francis was honored by both the Crime Writers Association (Britan) and the Mystery Writers of America. He was also created a Commander of the British Empire. After publishing his autobiography in 1957, he began publishing mystery novels in 1962, and went on to publish a novel a year for 38 years.

!!Works by Dick Francis provide examples of:

* ArtificialLimbs: [[spoiler: Sid Halley]] is sporting one in [[spoiler: ''Come to Grief'']].
* TheBartender: Tony Beach in ''Proof''.
* CoolHorse: Appears less frequently than one would think. Sandcastle (''Banker'') is an exception.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: Appears multiple times, including ''Decider'' and ''Hot Money''.
* BornInTheSaddle: Multiple characters come from families that fit this trope, as do many supporting characters. Averted, though, in ''Comeback.''
* {{Determinator}}: Sid Halley is a prime example, but nearly every single protagonist manages to succeed by sheer teeth-gritting refusal to acknowledge when they are beaten. Terrified? Yes. Expecting failure? Yes. Exhausted and in physical pain? Yep. Aware of their limitations? Certainly. Resigned to eventual defeat? Quite possibly. Going to quit while still breathing? ''NEVER''.
* {{Expy}}: Francis's protagonists are generally moderately humble, down-to-earth, decent men who are quite competent at their trades, who are faced with unexpected difficulties that they eventually work through.
* FirstPersonSmartAss: Averted, for the most part, even though ALL of his mystery novels are written in first person point-of-view. Snark, where present, is delivered in an understated Brit fashion.
* HorsingAround: While some novels feature a CoolHorse, most stick close to realism - horses bolt, run off, buck, bite, and (quite frequently) throw their riders to the ground, to be stomped on by their herdmates.
* KindlyVet: Appears frequently, as to be expected in stories involving horse racing - most notably a whole clinic's worth in ''Comeback''. Several are only kindly to four-legged creatures, and less sympathetic to humans.
* KissingCousins: ''Nerve'', in an mostly unrequited fashion. Mostly.
* MostWritersAreWriters: ''Forfeit'' (racing columnist, which Francis was for years); ''Longshot''.
* NonIdleRich: as to be expected with Francis's heroes (see {{Expy}} and {{Determinator}}) but particularly in ''Flying Finish'', ''To The Hilt'' and ''High Stakes''.
* PsychicPowers: Kit Fielding and his twin sister (''Break In'', ''Bolt'') share a telepathic bond.
* ShownTheirWork: Constantly - both in the frequently-appearing racing-centric horse material, and in the details of various trades examined in different books (wine merchant in ''Proof'', pilot in ''Flying Finish'', and so forth).
* SnakeOilSalesman: [[spoiler: Calder Jackson]] in ''Banker''.
* {{Sidekick}}: Tick-Tock, in ''Nerve'', qualifies, almost to the point of PluckyComicRelief. So does the hired detective in ''To The Hilt.''
* StarvingArtist: Subverted in ''Shattered'', where Gerry Logan does quite well at his business. Played straight in ''Longshot'' (up to and including the leaking garrett.) In ''To the Hilt'' and ''In the Frame'', the artists live unconventional lives, but are far from financially strapped. Contrast with ''Reflex'' where the art (photography) is pure hobby.
* TapOnTheHead: Generally averted - characters who are knocked out wake up disoriented and in pain.
* WriteWhatYouKnow: Francis was a top racing jockey for decades. All his books have some sort of link to horse racing.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: Abounds throughout the novels - in particular, his sons and their professions inspired ''Driving Force'' and ''Twice Shy''.