Title: Dead Heat
Author: Dick Francis
With his rising culinary career threatened by an episode of food poisoning that affects most of the guests at a private affair that he had catered, Max Moreton finds himself in more trouble when he caters an exclusive luncheon at the Two Thousand Guineas horse race, a party devasted by a bomb blast that kills some of his staff as well as many of the guests.
After a six-year absence from the bestseller lists, Dick Francis roared out of the gate with 2006’s Under Orders, demonstrating once again every ounce of his famed narrative drive, brilliant plotting, and simmering suspense. Hard on the heels of that triumph comes Dead Heat, set against the backdrop of Britain’s famed Two Thousand Guineas Stakes.
Max Moreton is a rising culinary star and his Newmarket restaurant, The Hay Net, has brought him great acclaim and a widening circle of admirers. But when nearly all the guests who enjoyed one of his meals at a private catered affair fall victim to severe food poisoning, his kitchen is shuttered and his reputation takes a hit. Scrambling to meet his next obligation, an exclusive luncheon for forty in the glass-fronted private boxes at the Two Thousand Guineas, Max must overcome the previous evening’s disaster and provide the new American sponsors of the year’s first classic race with a day to remember.
Then a bomb blast rips through the private boxes, killing some of Max’s trusted staff as well as many of the guests. As survivors are rushed to the hospital, Max is left to survey the ruins of the grandstand — and of his career. Two close calls are too close for comfort, and Max vows to protect his name — and himself — before it’s too late.