England, like the rest of the civilized world, has a population expanding at the bottom and top of the age levels. It has become land poor to the point where two of their best mysteries take off from the issue of real estate take-overs (cf. Gilbert's excellent The Crack in the Teacup- p. 1207). Dick Francis has a tougher touch with the subject and a notable way of introducing the fascinating facts of steeplechasing. His private eye here, Sid Halley, an ex-jockey, is assigned by his agency to prevent another race course from being grabbed for acres of ticky-tacky housing. Fast away.