Dick Francis always teaches the reader something, and in Slay Ride we learn that there aren't many homebred jump jockeys in Norway. The population is small, with not enough racing going on. So English jockeys are often invited to ride in races.
One of these jockeys, Bob Sherman, is accused of stealing the day's take at the Øvrevoll racetrack. He's disappeared with sixteen thousand kroner. Feeling somewhat embarrassed by the incident, the British Jockey Club sends its investigator, David Cleveland, to Norway to look into the matter.
David is the usual appealing Dick Francis hero, but with charms all his own. At thirty-three, he barely looks twenty-five, so he gets no respect (at first) from the bigwigs. In fact, he's a skilled fact finder. He's trained himself to watch the movements of people's eyes, and even to sense slight disturbances in the atmosphere caused by fear or aggression in others. His carefully cultivated jungle instincts are destined to come in handy.
David's inquiry into a fairly minor theft uncovers a much bigger game. So big that he has to deal with several attempts on his life.
The cast includes some wacky characters. Like David's chauffeur, a left-wing Norwegian who drives like a maniac, his Great Dane calmly ensconced in the back seat. And then there's the paranoid Norwegian security guy who's always looking over his shoulder for attackers. And David's weird neighbor in London who can't bear noise. Women enter the picture, too, giving our hero a chance to have healthy male thoughts, politely controlled.
I knocked this book down in a day, unable to stop reading. I'd certainly recommend it, along with everything else by Dick Francis!