The Eustace Diamonds
She liked lies...To lie readily and cleverly, recklessly and yet successfully, was, according to the lessons which she had learned, a necessity in a woman'
Lizzie Eustace is young, beautiful, and widowed. Her determination to hold on to the Eustace family's diamond necklace in the face of legal harassment by her brother-in-law's solicitor entangles her in a series of crimes - apparent and real - and contrived love-affairs. Her cousin Frank, Tory MP and struggling barrister, loyally assists her, to the distress of his fiancãÂ©e, Lucy Morris. A pompous Under-Secretary of State, an exploitative and acquisitive American and her unhappy niece,
a shady radical peer, and a brutal aristocrat are only some of the characters in this, one of Trollope's most engaging novels: part sensation fiction, part detective story, part political satire, and part ironic romance.
The Eustace Diamonds (1873) belongs to Trollope's Palliser series. Though often considered the least political of the six novels, it is a highly revealing study of Victorian Britain, its colonial activities in Ireland and India, its veneration of wealth, and its pervasive dishonesty.
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Helen Small is the author of The Long Life, winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism 2008 and the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, also 2008. For Oxford World's Classics she has edited George Eliot's The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.