It has only been a few months since Dick Francis left our midst, but perhaps it’s not too early to suggest a worthy successor….
Jockey Nikki Latrelle gets the chance of a lifetime — to ride the favorite in a stakes race — only to have her dream destroyed when a mysterious intruder kills her mount the night before the race. Evil people are working at Maryland’s Laurel Park race track, and when Nikki stumbles over the body of a gunshot victim, she quickly becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. Framed and facing a possible murder rap, Nikki is ruled-off the track.
Even deprived of job and income, she cannot abandon a mistreated, ill-tempered racehorse doomed to the slaughter house. Nikki and the filly wind up at a seedy stable with a motley group of felons, drunks, and drug-addicts. With unexpected help from a fashion-conscious wholesale meat-seller, a recovering addict, and an ancient groom, Nicky follows a crooked trail of insurance scam and betting fraud. But with the odds against her, can she clear her name — and put the real criminals behind bars?
Hill lives on a Maryland farm and has bred racehorses for many years. A winner of amateur steeplechase events, she has galloped her horses on the farm and trained them into the winner’s circle. Author of several mysteries appearing in the “Chesapeake Crimes” Anthology, her articles have appeared in numerous magazines.
“Full Mortality,” her first novel, has been nominated for both Macavity and Agatha Best First Mystery Awards.
I was born with horses in my veins and started galloping about the family farm on a stick horse when I was four years old. By the time I was seven or eight, I was sneaking rides on the Belgian plow horses. I did this because my father didn’t like horses and considered ponies dangerous. So instead, I drummed my heels on the sides of a 2,000 pound draft mare, while grasping whatever string or rope I managed to tie to her halter.
This year, with my first book being published, I’ve looked to that past and dedicated my horse racing mystery to the two people who recognized and nurtured the horses that raced in my veins – Rhoda Christmas Bowling and Alfred H. Smith, Sr.
Rhoda is probably America’s first female sports writer. She wrote a racing column for the Washington Times Herald in the nineteen forties. She bred Maryland racehorses, and held a trainer’s license, too. She had a fiery temper, often cursed like a sailor, and threw society parties that could turn Mary Lou Whitney green with envy. — Sasscer Hill
Editor’s note: For more details on Bowling, Smith and Hill’s successful quest to get her first pony, despite her father’s objections, visit the author’s Amazon page for the details, beautifully told.
And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample: