Born in Wales, Dick Francis was a successful jockey until an accident during Britain’s prestigious Grand National Steeplechase left him unable to continue racing. “Retired” at age 36, he responded to interest in his career with an autobiography. He also began using his knowledge of racing to write about the sport for the Sunday Express newspaper. The economic realities of raising a family led Francis to try his hand at mystery writing, and in 1962 Dead Cert was published. It was an instant hit and Francis went on to write 41 international best sellers.