Sid Halley Books

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Sid Halley a steeplechase jockey turned private detective is the lead character in the Sid Halley series of novels by British crime writer Dick Francis. Sid Halley makes his first appearance in the debut novel in the series, the 1965 titled, Odds Against.

Order of Sid Halley Series By: Dick Francis, Felix Francis

# Read Title Published Details
1 Odds Against ( By: Dick Francis) 1965 Description / Buy
2 Whip Hand ( By: Dick Francis) 1979 Description / Buy
3 Come to Grief ( By: Dick Francis) 1995 Description / Buy
4 Under Orders ( By: Dick Francis) 2006 Description / Buy
5 Refusal ( By: Dick Francis) 2013 Description / Buy
6 Hands Down ( By: Felix Francis) 2022 Description / Buy
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Sid Halley had been one of the best steeplechase jockeys and trainer who had the honor of holding the statewide championship for a record six years. The series of novels begins immediately he takes up a detective job, after he is involved in a racing accident that permanently rules him out from competitive racing.

The first novel in the series, Odds Against tells the story of Halley after joining the renowned investigative/security company, Hunt Radnor Associates as a detective. Used to a life of idyllic racing, he finds himself having to go against hardened criminals, where the odds of his survival or success are slim to none.

He is still wallowing in self-pity following the loss of a career that he loved. It does not help that he has also lost his wife of many years. All of these aspects combine to makes it hard for Sid Halley to have the drive to succeed as a detective. However, a case that had a series of bizarre accidents at one of the city’s most popular racetracks, piques his interest. With a case involving his former career, he gives it his all and soon unravels the mystery, in the process discovering that he could just be as good a detective as he was a championship jockey. However, his victory comes at a cost as he catches a bullet in the bad hand he had injured before, ultimately resulting in amputation.


Whip Hand, the second novel in the series won the CWA Gold Dagger and MWA Edgar Award for Best Novel, one of the only two novels to ever have the honor of winning both awards following The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre. The first novel in the Sid Halley Series earned Dick Francis his first ever award, winning the MWA Edgar Award for Best Novel. Come to Grief the third novel also won an Edgar Award for Best Novel.


The Sid Halley series of novels was adapted into a mini television series called the Racing Game. The Yorkshire TV produced series starred Mike Gwilym as Sid Halley and ran between 1979 and 1980. The series was shot mainly at Wetherby and Pontefract racecourses in Yorkshire.


Whip Hand: The award-winning second novel in the series, Whip Hand is one of the most highly regarded of the Sid Halley books.

Against Odds: In the first sequel to the first novel, Against Odds, Sid has just left his former employment at Hunt Radnor Associates. Teaming up with his best friend Chico Barnes, they have set up their own private investigations firm, which is already doing very well. Nonetheless, Sid Halley constantly has to deal with the loss of his hand coupled with a paranoia of losing his only remaining hand.

Odds Against: he first novel in the series is also another very popular novel among Sid Halley fans. After losing his hand to an accident, Halley is struggling to master the prosthetic device that he now has to use in place of his hand. The only saving grace is that while he has to confront thoroughbred criminals, the job is so exciting that his slim odds of survival are the last thing on his mind.

Come To Grief: Another excellent novel in the Sid Halley series is the third title, Come to Grief. Sid is now a sole proprietor in his investigative practice, after his long-term partner Barnes left under pressure from his newly wedded bride. In the course of his work, he discovers that one of his closest friends, a very popular TV journalist has been engaging in animal cruelty. Troubled by the facts he proceeds to publish the findings only to become a public pariah in the most trying case of his detective career.


Many Sid Halley fans will also love the “Gerhard Self” series of novels by Bernhard Schlink. The books are detective thrillers featuring Gerhard Self a former Nazi prosecutor turned private detective whose past life makes him a self-mocking protagonist with a thirst for justice and truth. Sid Halley fans also like the “Constable Evans” series by Rhys Bowen. Constable Evans is a new detective in Llanfair who has to deal with the attentions of several women in the small town, while trying to solve mysterious homicides.

What Is The Next Book in The Sid Halley Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Sid Halley Series. The newest book is Hands Down and was released on November, 8th 2022.

1 thought on “Sid Halley”

  1. I just re-read Odds Against, the first Sid Halley book. Can anyone tell me why Sid says he sent the bad guy to Wilbur Potter? Who was Wilbur Potter? This is on page 253 of the 1965 edition.

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