Come to Grief
"I had this friend that everyone loved, and I put him on trial."
Date of Publication: 1995 (HD)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (HD)
Foreign Titles: Favorit German
Setting: Reading, London, Kent, Combe Bassett
Although more than a decade has passed since the publication of Whip Hand, little time has elapsed
in Sid Halley's life. Still in his mid-thirties, he remains troubled, courageous, unwilling to admit defeat
to disabling injury or corruption. Now, though, Sid faces nineties dillemmas and hazards even more serious
than those he once faced in horse racing, the passion that cost him his hand, and "the only sport so dangerous
that ambulances follow the athletes from start to finish" (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
"I had this friend that everyone loved," Halley says, "and I put him on trial ... I grieved for the loss of a
friendship, for a man who still looked the same but was different, alien ... despicable. I could much more
easily have grieved for him dead."
Having exposed an adored racing figure as a monster, Sid must testify at the man's trial. But the morning of
his appearance, a tragic suicide shatters the proceedings and jars Halley's conscience. Plagued by regret
and suspicion that there's more to the death than has yet come to light, he is catapulted into the days of hard,
rational investigation, heart-searching torments, and the gravest of perils. Business as usual for Sid ...
Ellis Quint, idol and friend
Gordon Quint, his father
Rear Admiral Charles Roland, Sid's ex-father-in-law
India Cathcart, The Pump
Kevin Mills, The Pump
Rachel and Linda Ferns, leukemia victim and her mother
Jonathan, his nephew
Norman Picton, water-skiing DI
Davis Tatum, lawyer
Sid Halley was a jockey and now is a
Ellis Quint is a talk-show host.
Charles Roland is retired from the Navy.
India Cathcart and Kevin Mills are journalists.
Archie Kirk is a magistrate.
Comes after: Wild Horses / Comes before:
To the Hilt
Villain and Motives:
The villain is revealed in the first pages of the book. Ellis Quint, while a good friend of our hero,
has a depraved desire to mutilate and kill horses. But he is a complex villain, unlike Julius Apollo Filmer from
The Edge. Ellis, unlike Filmer, has a core of goodness that is at war with his evil side.
Unlike most people who merely repress their quiet dark side, Ellis is compelled to let it out in spurts. He enjoys
torturing Sid, but in the end forcefully prevents anyone from killing him. He's a sadist and a heavyweight, but he's
not a murderer ... of people, at least. There is, however, another twist
to this mystery.
Ordeal by newsprint, I thought; the latter-day torture.
"What am I supposed to do all day in that graveyard of a house? The aunt's whining drives me insane and even
Karl Marx would have throttled Esther."
He did, I supposed, have a point.
"Sense is in the eye of the beholder."
"One cannot improve on an immaculate conception."
highlight the area beneath the question to discover the answer
1. What kind of hand does Sid have?
a myoelectric false hand
2. What kind of decal does Jonathan remember on the Land Rover?
a red dragon with the letters E.S.M.
3. What reason does Ellis suggest for the serial-mutilator motivation?
that he can't help it
To Get the Book:
Putnam's Come to Grief (accidentally titled Wild Horses)
Sid Halley Bio