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«Death At Epsom Downs», Paige Robin

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The seventh book in the Sir Charles Sheridan series, 2001


We are grateful to those who helped fill the blanks in our understanding of some of the complex questions involved with Victorian horseracing. Mr. Ian Nelson, a guide at the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket, Suffolk, England, provided an invaluable service in reading the manuscript, correcting our errors, and suggesting possibilities we hadn’t considered. We thank him for sharing his knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm with us. Professor Thomas Tobin, of The Equine Research Center of the University of Kentucky at Lexington, and Professor Richard Nash of Indiana University helped to clarify our understanding of the doping of race horses at the turn of the century, while good initial leads to the toxicological issues were offered by our local veterinarian, Dr. Tom Hembree, and pharmacist and toxicologist Luci Zahray, R. Ph., M. S. We also received helpful suggestions of possible source material from members of the Victoria list on the Internet. We are very grateful to our agent, Deborah Schneider, and our editor, Natalee Rosenstein, whose belief in, and support of, Robin Paige has made it possible to move the series from paperback to hardcover.

Robin Paige

a.k.a. Bill Albert

Susan Wittig Albert


Lord Charles Sheridan, Baron of Somersworth

Lady Kathryn Ardleigh Sheridan, Baroness of Somersworth and mistress of Bishop’s Keep

Patrick, apprentice jockey and stable lad at Grange House

Bradford Marsden, close friend of Charles and Kate

Edith Hill, Bradford Marsden’s fiancée

Albert Edward, His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales

Lillie Langtry (a.k.a. Mr. Jersey), actress, theatrical producer, and racehorse owner

Jeanne-Marie Langtry, Lillie’s daughter

Lord Reginald Hunt, Jockey Club member and racehorse owner

Colonel Harry Hogsworth, racehorse owner

Admiral Owen North, steward of the Jockey Club

Jack Murray, former Scotland Yard detective, now a Jockey Club investigator

Jesse Clark, American trainer

Mr. Angus Duncan, head trainer at Grange House, Newmarket

Mr. James (Pinkie) Duncan, assistant trainer at Grange House and Angus’s nephew

Todhunter Sloan, American jockey

Dr. Septimus Polter, veterinary surgeon

Captain Dick Doyle, Lord Reginald’s racing manager

Henry Manford Radwick, moneylender

Alfred Day (Badger), bookmaker

Eddie Baggs, Alfred Day’s partner

Oliver Moore (Sobersides), Alfred Day’s clerk

Amelia Quibbley, Kate’s maid

Margaret Simpson, Lillie’s maid


31 May, 1899At the DerbyИллюстрация к книге

Epsom on Derby Day! It was a national holiday, when a vast concourse of men and women assembled on Epsom Downs to see the race for the Derby Stakes. This was still the England of old-the England in which rich and poor were united by a common love of sport. Here at Epsom, a coster in his cart could still shout a cheery welcome to a Duke in his crested coach, whilst the handsome young coachman behind, resplendent in braid and cockade, could throw a knowing wink to the young scullery maid who whistled at him from the back of a broken-down pony and trap.

The Pocket Venus: A Victorian Scandal Henry Blyth


Walking along the racecourse on her husband’s arm, Amelia Quibbley thought she had never before seen such a crowd. Bookies in checked suits and green silk ties traded cries with betting men in gray overcoats.

“On the Derby, who’ll bet the Derby?”

“What’s the price on the favorite in the Stakes?”

“Five to Two.”


And the half-crowns jingled in the bookie’s bucket, while men in dirty white aprons filled foaming glasses from beer kegs, shouting “Accommodation! ’Commodation here!” A parson in front of a gospel tent pounded a drum, exhorting sinners to turn their backs on the Derby and wager their lives on Christ. Blind beggars cried for alms, a boy on stilts called for coins, and drunken soldiers shouted out popular ditties.

Half-deafened by the din, Amelia said, “I’m thirsty, Lawrence. Shall we ’ave a ginger beer?”

Lawrence ’s handsome dark eyes laughed down at his wife and his arm circled her waist. “A ginger beer ye shall ’ave, ducky, as soon as I find one o’ Badger’s men in the Ring and lay my bit. Badger’s posted the best odds on Ricochet.”

Lawrence paused to peer at a man standing behind a banner that read Alfred Day, Commission Agent, Newmarket. All Bets Paid. “On th’ Derby!” the man was droning, like a sour bagpipe. “On th’ Derby ’ere! Bet th’ Derby!”

“And there’s Badger ’isself, by Gawd!” Lawrence exclaimed. “Stop here, dear. I want to put down a crown.” He stepped up to the banner and raised his voice over the din. “Badger! Say, Badger, wot’s odds on Ricochet?”

“Sev’n to two,” Badger cried. Where other bookmakers were gaudy in suits of black-and-white checks the size of sixpence, with flowing silk ties as green as May and yellow posies pinned to their lapels, he wore a dignified gray frock coat with a pale gray top hat and sparkling diamond rings on both hands. Never mind that the coat was stained and missing a button and the rings most likely paste, he looked almost as fine as a gentleman.

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