Francome, John

About the author

John Francome (b.1952) was a National Hunt Champion Jockey seven times. After retiring as a jockey, he worked as a racing pundit for Channel 4. He has followed the Dick Francis route and taken to writing racing thrillers. The first four of these were written with James MacGregor. The first, Eavesdropper, hasn’t swum across my ken, but the second, Riding High, has. It was bad: awkward writing, screamingly obvious plot lines, an unbelievable romance. I didn’t believe a word of the whole thing. I’ve since since read a later John Francome – Stalking Horse – which was better, though there were still long passages which were positively turgid and without which the book would have been a much better read.

He was prolific, and produced a book a year from 1986 to 2011.

Finding the books
All still readily available

Links and sources
John Francome on Wikipedia

Bibliography (horse books only)

Eavesdropper (with James MacGregor)

Macdonald, London, 1986
Futura, 1987, pb, 223 pp.
Headline, 1993, 1997

James Thackeray, racing journalist, finds a body, but that is only the beginning of his problems.

Riding High (with James MacGregor)

Macdonald, London, 1987
Futura, 1988, pb, 205 pp.
Chivers Large Print, 1988

The police in three countries are after Alistair Rye: his wife Claudia can prove his innocence,
but will she?

Declared Dead (with James MacGregor)

Headline, London, 1988, 206 pp
HarperCollins, New York, 1996
Headline, 1989 pb

Victoria Pryde’s husband, Edward, has huge gambling debts. He’s been missing for two weeks, and then a body turns up in a burnt out Jaguar…

Blood Stock (with James MacGregor)

Headline, London, 1989, 256 pp.
Magna, Large Print, 1991
Headline, 1990, pb

Moondancer was a champion racehorse, but useless as a stallion, so when he is found dead, it’s a relief. However, it appears the death was not accidental.

Stone Cold

Headline, London, 1990, 342 pp.

With Stud Poker, Chancellor Press, 1992

Kelly Connor is led by one race into a conspiracy of blackmail, seduction and murder.

Stud Poker

Headline, London, 1990, 256 pp.

With Stone Cold, Chancellor Press, 1992

Jockey Paul Raven discovers a sinister connection between a private poker school and a run of racing accidents.

Rough Ride

Headline, 1992, 279 pp.
Book Club, 1992
HarperCollins, New York, 1995 pb

Jockey Archie Best receives a very surprising legacy.


Headline, London, 1993, 281 pp.
Headline, London, 1994, pb

Top American jockey Jake, comes to England to further his career and get away from the
American racing mafia: unfortunately, England does not prove the safe haven he hopes.

Break Neck

Headline, London, 1994, 280 pp.
Headline, London, 1995, pb

Rory Gillespie abandons the girl he loves to marry for money. His lost love reappears in his life, in trouble, and this time Rory helps.

Dead Ringer

Headline, London, 1995, 281 pp.
Headline, London, 1996, pb

David Tredington, son of a trainer, vanished when he was 12. At the age of 27, he turns up again. His long lost family are by no means all pleased to see him again.

False Start

Headline, London, 1996, 278 pp.
Headline, London, 1997, pb

Charlie Patterson and Nick Ryder start training together, and at first everything looks as if it’s going well. Then the owner of their best horse, Willow Star removes her.

High Flyer

Headline, London, 1997, 246 pp.
Headline, London, 1998, pb

Joey Leatham is a very successful jockey, but just when it seems everything’s going well, he falls victim to blackmail.

Safe Bet

Headline, London, 1998, 280 pp.
Headline, London, 1999, pb

Jockey Mike Powell has wasted his life: when he dies, his great friend Jed discovers that
Mike’s business deals may have led to his death.

Tip Off

Headline, London, 1999, 278 pp.
Headline, London, 2000, pb

Toby Brown is a punter who’s evolved a system to beat the bookmakers.


Headline, London, 2000, 377 pp.
Headline, London, 2001, pb

Tony Byrne has never been dishonest during his career as a jockey. Freddy Montagu always has.

Dead Weight

Headline, London, 2001, 279 pp.
Headline, London, 2002, pb

Phil Nicholas has returned to racing after a terrible fall, but he cannot overcome its mental after effects. To add to this, someone is out to punish jockeys who bend the rules.

Inside Track

Headline, London, 2002, 311 pp.
Headline, London, 2003, pb

Pippa Hutchinson is an aspiring trainer: when one of her owners moves his horses elsewhere, one of them dramatically improves. Pippa enlists the help of her brother to find out why, but he has his own demons to fight.

Stalking Horse

Headline, London, 2003, 311 pp.
Headline, London, 2004, pb

Jockey Josh Swallow has won everything, but he’s never been Champion Jockey. He is
determined to go out at the top, but there are plenty of obstacles in his way.

Back Hander

Headline, London, 2004, 313 pp.
Headline, London, 2005, pb

Nothing is going right for jockey Alan Morrell; he can’t get rides, his bloodstock business has hit the buffers, he owes a lot of money and now it looks as if his best friend’s fatal accident was not an accident.

Cover Up

Headline, London, 2005, 313 pp.
Headline, London, 2006, pb

Jockey Rob Harding has decided to breed winners rather than ride them, but matters don’t go quite according to plan.

Winner Takes All

Headline, London, 2006, 88pp. (Quick Reads series)

Trainer Ben Sayers has two horses to enter in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he soon finds
out the owner of one of them does not like competition.

Free Fall

Headline, London, 2006, 474 pp
Headline, London, 2007, pb

Pat Vincent is a jockey convinced he’s going to make a dishonest fortune; his girlfriend Zoe wants to make it honestly, but is distracted by the disaster area that is her sister’s marriage. Her sister is married to Pat’s partner in crime…

Dark Horse

Headline, London, 2007, 374 pp.
Headline, London, 2008, pb

Four friends from racing school were in a crash that left a girl dead. Since then, they’ve gone their separate ways, and forgotten the past. The past has not forgotten them, however.

Final Breath

Headline, London, 2008, 310 pp.
Headline, London, 2009, pb

Danny Clark’s girlfriend Kirsty died in a diving accident, and Danny has now taken up with
her best friend, Tara. Tara’s uncle is not best pleased by this, as when Kirsty died she took
with her secrets he would prefer to remain buried.

Deadly Finish

Headline, London, 2009, 312 pp.
Headline, London, 2010, pb

Simon Waterford is a successful trainer, and his two-year-old colt has just won at Ascot. At a party on a train after the race, Simon’s uncle is about to reveal a secret Simon’s fiancée would much rather keep hidden. Geoff ends up dead after a brawl.

Storm Rider

Headline, London, 2010
Headline, London, Sept 2011, pb

Glyn Cole, when he was alive, caused nothing but trouble. He’s been away now for 2 years, but turns up again, though dead, which obviously causes problems for the person who killed him.