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  • Published: 1 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099531999
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $19.99

Derby Day

A Victorian Mystery

A gripping novel of romance and rivalry, gambling and greed, from acclaimed novelist and biographer D.J. Taylor - longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011

It's Derby Day and all of England is heading for the Epsom Downs. Society beauties rub shoulders with Whitechapel street girls, as every class of society gathers with high hopes and taut nerves for the greatest race of the year.

All through winter, from London to France, plans have been laid, money exchanged, disputes begun. And uniting the destinies of old Mr Gresham and his tigerish daughter, the rakish Mr Happerton and his crony Captain Raff, brooding Mr Davenant, Mr Pardew the burglar and detective Captain McTurk is the champion horse Tiberius.

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.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011.

  • Published: 1 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099531999
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $19.99

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

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Praise for Derby Day

Meticulously plotted and written with bouncy confidence... A rattling good yarn


Derby Day is a triumphant success...in this unputdownable Victorian romp [Taylor] enjoyably proves himself to be one of the finest of our 21st-century novelists

AN Wilson, Financial Times

The novel is richly redolent of the novels of Wilkie Collins, Dickens and Thackeray... The characters who plot and squirm throughout the course of Derby Day are fully rounded and memorably drawn and the atmosphere is palpable. In fact here is an intelligent novel which is also a genuine page-turner. Truly a terrific read

Peter Burton, Daily Express

Rich and gorgeous as a plum cake, this is absorbing entertainment indeed

Kate Saunders, The Times

Taylor, with patient stealth, assembles a ring of enjoyably seedy or unprepossessing figures...What distinguishes it from generic thriller-writing is the author's knowledge of the period

Times Literary Supplement

Taylor has written an exceptionally clever pastiche 19th-century novel with a richness of character that almost matches his models of Dickens and Thackeray

Sunday Times

Derby Day is pitch-perfect... It's enormous fun and meticulously researched and conceived


Taylor's great skill is in characterisation... In this accomplished work [he] has effectively captured the mutable nature of this unsettling period

Literary Review

Enjoyable, intelligent and thoroughly entertaining... Highly recommended


[Taylor's] prose is note-perfect and seems completely natural...Better still, he never forgets the 'mystery' part of that promise on the cover. As the great race approaches, the many strands of the story come together in a way that's wholly satisfying and exciting

Daily Mail

Taylor wears his research lightly but there is no doubt how much effort he has expended... The whole is an engaging drama - escapism of the highest standard

Independent on Sunday

Taylor manages to successfully pastiche a 19th-century mystery novel with this fast paced, enjoyable read

The Times

This is a book to read by the fireside, to be swept along in, to realise - with a start - that hours have gone by...In other words, to rediscover the lost-in-another-world joy of reading. And this book really IS a joy...my favourite book of the year so far

Eastern Daily Press

A delicious, highly intelligent page-turner... With clever, confident plotting and meticulous period details, this is an engrossing and deeply satisfying read

Good book Guide

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

Taylor’s love and understanding of Victorian melodrama is put to good use in this tangibly detailed and deliciously written pastiche centred on an Epsom Derby swindle

Sunday Telegraph

This is a fictional world in which daughters are ready to bump off their fathers, husbands to exploit their wives, and everyone is happy to chance their assets on the wheel of fortune. It’s a novel that will keep you gripped until the very last furlong

Emma Hagestadt, Independent

It is a detective story as gripping as the Victorian novels that inspired it, and is written with narrative flair and a terrific sense of fun

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Daily Telegraph

Derby Day will be hard to put down... As ever with Taylor, literary complexities lurk under the smooth surface of a stylish page-turner

Conde Nast Traveller

Derby Day will be hard to put down...As ever with Taylor, literary complexities lurk under the smooth surface of a stylish page-turner

Conde Nast Traveller

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