The 19th thriller from former Champion jockey (and Spitfire pilot) Dick Francis, first published in 1980.
Philip Nore is a not-very-succesful jockey, who might be beginning to nudge the end of his career. He is also a man without a family, having been 'parked' by his now-disappeared mother, from a young age, with ever-changing friends. But now his grandmother is making contact - though not for reasons Philip enjoys...
At the same time, he is caught up in horse-race cheating tricks; and a photographer has died, and various villains are after his photographic files, for reasons unclear.
Dick Francis is a brilliant writer, economical with words, very good on dialogue and characterization, very good on the background of the story - but the story is the main thing, dragging you along at a furious pace and keeping you guessing on various levels. While you are totally caught up in personalities and emotions. He also gives you some pretty nice philosophical musings on how to cope with life, with change, and with people; in an unobtrusive way that is very Francis, and very effective.
This might be classified as 'thriller' or even 'horse-racing fiction' but while both these are true, the books shine (and this one shines very well among them) by the writing style. Smart people, who don't need everything pre-chewed or explained in tedious detail, will enjoy them - a lot. And this is one of his top stories, I think!