The Book: Dick Francis, BANKER. Fawcett paperback reprint, 1984. Good condition; book is intact, spine is cocked and heavily creased, pages are age-browned.
First read: 1985
Owned since: 1985
I haven't hung on to many paperbacks, but this is my favorite Dick Francis novel. Besides being an excellent mystery, it also provides clear, succinct explanations of basic investment banking, the finances and mechanics of horse breeding, and pharmacology.
Investment banker Tim Ekaterin agrees to help finance the purchase of a great stallion who is being put out to stud. Disaster strikes when a disproportionate percentage of the stallion's foals are born with terrible birth defects. To recover his bank's investment, Ekaterin must find out whether the horse is at fault, or something more sinister is going on. Along the way he falls hopelessly in love with a married woman, makes a lot of new friends, and learns to love the world of horses.
I didn't watch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday; while set-building, I got knocked sideways by a moving platform (my own fault) and went down hard, twisting my knee in the process. No serious damage, but the knee's still swollen (yes, I'm still icing and elevating).
Good thing I'm not a racehorse. The best commentary I've seen on Saturday's sad events is Sally Jenkins's column in yesterday's Washington Post, which you can read here (registration required). Dick Francis's BANKER is based on the observation that breeding stallions are money-making machines; Jenkins's column is based on the observation that this has gone too far.