Derby had by far the better of the opening 45 minutes and deservedly led 2-0, but Norwich finally found some rhythm and energy after the break and should have levelled before the home side sealed victory late on.
The meeting between these two clubs was overshadowed by allegations of match fixing when Derby won 2-1 at Carrow Road on October 4, but no-one could suggest there was anything wrong with this game which provided some excellent entertainment for a 26,000 plus crowd.
Derby produced arguably their best attacking display under manager Paul Jewell in the first half and it was no surprise when Paul Green put them in front in the 14th minute, after Nathan Ellington had beaten two defenders on the right.
The second in the 29th minute was set up by Kris Commons whose excellent cross on the run from the left was headed powerfully into the net by Rob Hulse for his fourth goal in five games.
Norwich had offered little, but a double substitution stung them into life in the second half and they were back in the game in the 63rd minute when John Kennedy headed a corner from David Bell into the top left-hand corner.
Leroy Lita had been caught offside on eight occasions, but when the flag stayed down in the 70th minute, the striker shot wide of the right-hand post and that proved a decisive moment in the game.
Instead of being level, Norwich were 3-1 down ten minutes from the end when Commons played a crossfield ball to substitute Przemyslaw Kazmierczak, who turned inside Elliot Omozusi to place a low shot inside David Marshall's left-hand post.
Derby should have scored another six minutes later when Marshall was caught in possession on the left edge of his area by Emanuel Villa, but the Argentinean striker rolled his shot wide of the empty net.