I read this book about 2-Sep-2016. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1999. This note was last modified Tuesday, 06-Sep-2016 17:29:30 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I've read at least one other Dick Francis, but it seems to have been before I started this book log.
In this one, two BBC metereologists get drawn into weirder and weirder things. Eventually it turns out they've stumbled on middlemen matching buyers and sellers for illegal nuclear materials. With a side in developing a new pasteurization technology.
Fairly early on, they arrange to fly into the eye of hurrican Odin. In a piston light twin. This works about as well as you might imagine, and I'm left wondering why either of them were willing to try it, why the airplane owner was willing to let them use his plane that way, and why stopping at Trox Island to pick up the super-secret files seemed like a good idea on a flight doomed from the beginning.
As it works out, they both survive, one in the inflatable dinghy and one cast ashore on...Trox Island. He survives milking the weirdly assorted herd of cows (and contracts a new tuberculosis variant), cracks the safe (figuring out an alphabetic password), sees the documents but can't read them. But does, it turns out later, notice the symbols for U235 and Pu240, which kind of gives things away.
The first-person narrator is involving enough, but I feel like things he noticed at the time are suppressed for me. That of course is cheating, and this book isn't old enough to excuse it (I sometimes think Dorothy Sayers is; sometimes).
He does manage to get in touch with some old regulatory people still in the game, and they actually do pick up some of the criminals—and leave others in place to pursue bigger game yet (these are just middlemen remember).
I'm going to be able to resist going on a Dick Francis binge just now.