Peter Haining (ed.) - Murder At The Races (Orion, 1995)
Peter Haining - Introduction John Masefield - Under Starters Orders
1. Sport Of Killers: Mystery And The Course
Dick Francis - The Protection Racket Nat Gould - Nobbling The Favourite Thomas Gaspey - A Racing Swindle Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Silver Blaze Leslie Charteris - Won By A Neck Frank Johnson - The American Invasion Michael Innes - A Derby Horse Peter Tremayne - The Horse That Died Of Shame Julian Symons - Murder On The Race Course John Francome - The Body In The Horsebox
2. Dead Weights: Mayhem In The Saddle
Steve Donaghue - Calling The Tune Alfred Watson - To Win A Race Leon Breaker - Dead Cert Jack Fairfax-Blakeborough - Nat Wedgewood Trapped Bat Masters - The Phantom Jockey Max Brand - Thoroughbred Ernest Hemingway - My Old Man Hugh Pentecost - Saratoga In August James Holding - The Photographer And The Jockey Mary Ryan - Ellen Keegan's Revenge
3. Fixed Odds: Crime And The Gamblers
Edgar Wallace - Straight From The Horses Mouth Damon Runyon - A Story Goes With It John Galsworthy - Had A Horse Barre Lyndon - Morning In The High Street Agatha Christie - The Crackler Henry Slesar - Something Short Of Murder! Thomas Walsh - Born Gambler Victor Bridges - The Later Edition Mark Daniel - Two And A Half Per Cent Ed Gorman - En Famille
Blood pounding in the head... death in the saddle... killers at the finish... murder at the races. More than any other sport, horse racing encompasses all walks of society — from the royal and the very rich to the gamblers and the frankly shady characters who hover at the edges of its world of speed, thrills and big money.
Murder At The Races is a heart-stopping collection of tales featuring such famous races as the Grand National, the Gold Cup and the Kentucky Derby; stories by brilliant jockeys-turned-writers like Dick Francis, John Francome, Steve Donoghue; obsessive gambler-turned-writers like Edgar Wallace, Ernest Hemingway and Damon Runyon; and by top crime writers such as Leslie Charteris, Julian Symons, John Galsworthy and Agatha Christie.
Murder At The Races — as fast, furious and exhilarating as the Sport of Kings itself..
Can't see me going the distance with this, but his non-genre anthologies are usually good for the occasional ghost or horror story and the linked introductions always make for an interesting read. Leslie Charteris represented by another Simon Templar adventure, the Tremayne novella is reprinted from Hemlock at Vespers, his 15 story collection of Str. Fidelma mysteries.
Bat Masters - The Phantom Jockey : The King Of Diamonds is odds-on favourite to win the Victorian Derby, but doesn't. It's Aussie owner, belligerent Ben Engel, loses a bundle and loudly accuses jockey Chris Packer of taking a bribe to throw the race. Packer, an honest pro, takes this badly, goes into decline and eventually shoots himself. Two years after the tragedy, Engel is back in England for a party at stud-groom Dan Sharples' stable in Brackston. Talk again turns to the King Of Diamonds, and Engel repeats his groundless allegations once too often ...
The Orion Haining's - The Vampire Omnibus, The TV Late Night Horror Omnibus, two volumes of The Television Detectives Omnibus, etc - seldom include details of original publication, and all we get on this welcome if slight supernatural story is that it hails from the Aldine Racing Novels series which 'Bat' wrote for from the early 'twenties up to his death in 1933. Locus online list the details of every issue, and while 'Bat' (Ernest Charles Buley) was indeed a regular contributor, neither he nor anybody else seems to have written them a story called The Phantom Jockey.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.