Books: Shutterbug

REFLEX by Dick Francis

Putnam; 295 pages; $11.95

Dick Francis, 60, says deadpan that his debut as a professional jockey came at the age of five, when an older brother bet him sixpence that he couldn't take their Welsh pony over a hedge while sitting backward in the saddle. After five falls, daring Dick collected. The steeplechase riders he has written about in 21 novels have a lot in common with the young Francis. They are dogged, not necessarily the best, but decent and vulnerable; they eat a lot of mud and get mauled frequently...

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