Nat Gould

His life and books

A Gentleman Rider: A Tale of the Grand National

First published in 1898 by Routledge.

Set briefly in Nottinghamshire, Paris, Derby and Liverpool, the scene is mostly a Grand National horse race at Aintree. Two amateur jockeys are deadly rivals: one a rich villain, the other a less wealthy protégé of his father's landlord. The main characters are rounded and well developed. Unfortunately all are scoundrels, snobs or parasites, greedy, vicious, foolish or incompetent.

Their several clashes stretch thinly over many chapters, with no surprises, eventually reaching an unconvincing deathbed reconciliation. The tale then ends abruptly, as though the author was as bored by the book as the reader is likely to have become.

Nat Gould wrote far better novels. (TA)