The third and last installment of this current feature of Three of A Kind by Dick Francis is Hot Money. Hot money refers to the bets made by people who have inside information.
Hot Money is the author's ninth novel to appear in condensed books. The Francises love to travel. In this novel, they have traced the route followed by our main characters - Malcolm and Ian Pembroke of Lambourn, England - from England to America to Australia.
Who are the Pembrokes?
Malcolm Pembroke is the father of Ian Pembroke. Ian is an amateur horse jockey. Malcolm earned his fortune as a gold speculator. He is dubbed to be with a Midas touch. Malcolm has been married five times. His fourth wife died in a car accident, along with their son. The other son survived with a brain damage. Ian is his only son by his third wife, Joyce. Malcolm's fifth wife, Moira, just died. She did not produce any children with Malcolm. The rest of Malcolm's brood is relieved that Moira is gone. They won't have to worry about getting less of Malcolm's wealth. Each offspring from the three divorced wives, except for Ian, have their own problems with life and money. They wanted Ian to patch up his relationship with their father and convince Malcolm to not squander his money in various donations, charities and frivolous expenses. They wanted Ian to convince their father that he needs to give them the money instead of going to those charities. Before Ian could actually make up with his father, Malcolm called him and asked him to accompany him in his appointments. Ian, realizing that his father was indeed serious in his offer of peace, accepted. Only to find out that someone has been trying to kill his father. One of the attempts was thwarted by Ian. Now, Ian has to protect his father and he has to make sure that his half-siblings, their respective other halves and his ex-step-mothers are not involved.
Like all families of multiple marriages, there is always this one person who serves as a keeper of peace. Ian is that sort of person in this story. His father listens to him, so it is just logical that his half-siblings will request him to intercede for them to their father. The story circles on Ian's efforts to keep his father alive and to find out who is trying to kill him. And like in real life, Ian realizes that it's not always money that drives people to madness. Some deep need and lacking would drive some to desperation and do the unthinkable. I reveled in the process on how Ian was able to get to know more of his family's lives, of their wishes and dreams, their frustrations and drives.
My guess on who the murderer of the story wasn't close. I did not expect it. I thought the attempt to kill Malcolm was all because of money but it wasn't. It wasn't so obvious and you have to have really amazing powers of deduction to figure it out. Like Malcolm, I have to see the culprit in the act to believe. This is a well-written story. I don't like it as much as the two previous books - Straight and To the Hilt, but I still enjoyed it. A Dick Francis is always a wonderful read. This one though wasn't as superb as the two but still worth the time.
And if you want to know how to create a secret room or storage, read this book. It will tell you how to make a room with a magic door, where to hide your treasures. You won't need a door knob, only a length of wire.
2/3 To the Hilt
Here are the rest of my books of Dick Francis.
(from left to right):
Condensed books (top to bottom)
To the Hilt