The book: Tony Beach, wine merchant, is asked to bring his tasting expertise to bear on fraud at a restaurant. Murder follows, and Beach is employed by two sets of fraud hunters to try and pick up a trail; but the hunt is not without danger to the hunters, either...
The author: Dick Francis flew airplanes in the 2nd World War (because the cavalry didn't want him!) and then turned jockey; he was champion jockey, and rode for the Queen Mother. After giving up professional riding he turned to writing, and wrote 40-odd thrillers. The first were about horse-racing pure and simple, but gradually he started to include people with interesting professions (wine merchants, glass-blowers, transporters) though racing usually comes up, as well. This was his 23rd, from 1984.
My opinion: clever, intelligent writing that pulls you right in. The first person of the story becomes part of you, with his doubts and weaknesses, and you feel with and for him. Other characters are drawn more briefly, but if they re-occur they also become deeper and more real, through their actions and talk. Cleverly done!
A very satisfying story, and as always very *decent*. Despite some very criminal happenings!