It is difficult to say where disaster begins, to point towards one particular happening as the first definite step towards distant cataclysm. Looking back, Tim Ekaterin sees the beginning as the day his boss stepped into a fountain. Onwards from there, he comes across people, when woven together by time and chance, leads towards violent action.
Dick Francis was one of the most successful post-war National Hunt jockeys. The winner of over 350 races, he was champion jockey in 1953/1954 and rode for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, most famously on Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National. On his retirement from the saddle, he published his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write forty-three bestselling novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), and the biography of Lester Piggott. During his lifetime Dick Francis received many awards, amongst them the prestigious Crime Writers' Association's Cartier Diamond Dagger for his outstanding contribution to the genre, and three 'best novel' Edgar Allan Poe awards from The Mystery Writers of America. In 1996 he was named by them as Grand Master for a lifetime's achievement. In 1998 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2000. Dick Francis died in February 2010, at the age of eighty-nine, but he remains one of the greatest thriller writers of all time.