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Proof Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The narrator of Francis's 26th mystery is Tony Beach, a young widower who fights his grief by keeping busy at his wine shop and by socializing. Eventually he teams up with private detective Gerard McGregor to find the hijackers of several trucks of spirits; the pair then take on a case involving the adulteration of whiskey and wine at a cafe. In rapid order the cafe's steward is brutally murdered, and Tony and Gerard just miss being killed. Tony's severest test occurs at the "stunning climax of what may be judged the best of Francis's bestsellers so far; it's a corker," PW commented.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A regular winner ... as smooth, swift and lean as ever Sunday Express As a jockey, Dick Francis was unbeatable when he got into his stride. The same is true of his crime writing Daily Mirror --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042520393X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425203934
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David J. Gannon on March 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dick Francis reminds me of a master craftsman of say fine furniture. His quality and style are such that, though all his pieces are different, they nevertheless bear the mark of his unique style and craftsmanship. Once in a while you'll come across a piece that's so unique that at first you're not absolutely sure it's one of his but a very short inspection convinces you that, yes, as odd as this piece may be, it's his.
That's a long way of alluding to the fact that Francis' books tend to be highly formulaic. For the most part you know what you are getting before you even open the cover. The formula consists of a highly independent, iconoclastic, extremely self-reliant protagonist who, for reasons he doesn't fathom, has become the center of a storm that, before everything has played out, will involve him in intrigue, murder and at least one act of horrific violence aimed at him personally. There will be some sort of at least marginal if not central theme of horse racing and a specific theme to the book-precious gems, photography or, in the case of Proof, the wine business.
Proof is a bit of a departure form the formula. The horrific violence is right up front in the form of a ghastly automobile accident. Tony Beach, the protagonist of this accident is present to experience it though he emerges unscathed. The accident does, however, bring him into contact with a private investigator. Their shared experience leads them to get ot know one another and the investigator, realizing Tony has some skills he needs, drags him into one of his cases. Thus Tony is an involved party to, but not the focus of the intrigue of this novel.
Moreover, Tony is not your typical Francis protagonist.
Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
PROOF is a terrific story about wine merchant Tony Beach who seems to stumble into one tragic situation after another. He agrees to cater a party for the horseracing elite, and watches as hit men reek havoc on the party. Now he's caught in the middle of a terrifying mystery that begins with counterfeit wine and continues on to murder. He has to dig deep within to continue to have the courage to find out who and why this is happening.

Dick Francis is a great writer of mysteries that always revolve around horseracing life. Most of his stories are based in England and steeple chasing (not the type of horseracing we're used to here in the United States). They are interesting and educational if you know nothing about this sport. Francis does not write tales as intense as some of the American authors do, but they are definitely worth the time to read. My father got me hooked on Dick Francis and his tales of murder and mayhem, and this author will have his books read for many years. They are timeless!
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Dick Francis and his wife Mary wrote as a team, and as time went on that team appeared to include their son Felix, who took over the Dick Francis brand in the early 2000s, when his mother had died and father got too old to write. Up until the mid-90s most of the books were written in a very distinct style: a strong focus on the horse jumping world, beautiful spare prose, page turning plots, and detective-like main characters with similar methods of operation. However, in the 1980s, another style entered into some of the books and has continued since Felix took over the franchise. The plots take much longer to develop. The sentences are decidedly much longer. There is no rhythm to the prose whatsoever. And the horse-racing world, while there, recedes well into the distance. Proof is one of these second types of books. I can fall asleep at night after reading a page and a half, where with the earlier books, I would be awake until four in the morning unable to put the book down. I can't say it's a poorly written book, because it reads like any number of other authors I could name. But if you are looking for the classic Dick Francis page turning, spare prose, racing world driven book, pass this one by.
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Very good read! I only gave it four stars because it's not the usual Dick Francis excellent jockey-as-hero stories, and those I like the best. In this book, the hero is a wine merchant who has recently lost his wife. Sadness there but always grit. The plot is thick enough for some spine tingling, there is some horse stuff, and the hero is knowledgeable about horses, after all it's a Dick Francis story. In this case, the hero was born into a huge horse-passionate family and therefore knew much about them, even though his choice of career took a far different turn. Nonetheless, his family knowledge comes in very handy. As always, the hero is very nice, very smart, very loyal to his principles, full of integrity, creative and intrepid.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Francis's main characters are usually reluctant heroes. Poor Tony knew himself to be a coward, because he knew his own fears. In this story he learns that it's not ones fear that makes a coward but ones actions.
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A great DF book. What he is all about. Nice crisis at the beginning, avoids cliches as much as thrillers can, and excellently written and conceived. This one is about catering alcohol and horses. You'll learn a lot about both.
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