> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409042082
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

Derby Day

A Victorian Mystery




A gripping novel of romance and rivalry, gambling and greed, from acclaimed novelist and biographer D.J. Taylor

As the shadows lengthen over the June grass, all England is heading for Epsom Downs - high life and low life, society beauties and Whitechapel street girls, bookmakers and gypsies, hawkers and acrobats, punters and thieves. Whole families stream along the Surrey back-roads, towards the greatest race of the year. Hopes are high, nerves are taut, hats are tossed in the air - this is Derby Day.

For months people have been waiting and plotting for this day. Even in dark November, when the wind whistles through the foggy London courts, the alehouses and gentlemen's clubs echo to the sound of disputed odds. In Belgrave Square old Mr Gresham is baffled by his tigerish daughter Rebecca, whose intentions he cannot fathom. In the clubs of St James's rakish Mr Happerton plays billiards with his crony Captain Raff, while in darkest Lincolnshire sad Mr Davenant broods over his financial embarrassments and waits for his daughter's new governess. Across the channel the veteran burglar Mr Pardew is packing his bags to return, to the consternation of the stalwart detective Captain McTurk. Everywhere money jingles and plans are laid. Uniting them all is the champion horse Tiberius, on whose performance half a dozen destinies depend.

In this rich and exuberant novel, rife with the idioms of Victorian England, the mysteries pile high, propelling us towards the day of the great race, and we wait with bated breath as the story gallops to a finish that no one expects.

  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409042082
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the author

D J Taylor

D.J. Taylor's novels include English Settlement, which won a Grinzane Cavour Prize, Trespass and Derby Day, both of which were long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and Kept: A Victorian Mystery. His other books include After the War: The Novel and England Since 1945, Thackeray, Orwell: The Life, which won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Prize, and Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918–1940. He lives in Norwich with his wife, the novelist Rachel Hore, and their three sons.

Also by D J Taylor

See all

Praise for Derby Day

Taylor, who has written an acclaimed biography of Thackeray, is steeped in authentic detail...Rich and gorgeous as a plum cake, this is absorbing entertainment indeed

Kate Saunders, Times

As you would expect from somebody steeped in Victorian fictional history, Taylor rarely puts a foot wrong...the colourful events which take place on the Downs should delight any racing enthusiast

Racing Post

Related titles