The Eustace Diamonds, published serially between 1871 and 1873, is the third and most famous of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels. A satirical study of the influence of money on marital and sexual relations, the story follows two contrasting women and their courtships. Impecuniousness hampers both Lizzie Eustace and Lucy Morris in their love affairs but they approach this problem in different ways, Lizzie with trickery and deceit but Lucy in a more moral fashion. Through this novel, Trollope provides a commentary on the problems with a Victorian society that could allow a despicable character like Lizzie to rise unscathed through it.
As with all of Trollope's novels, however, the highlight of the book lies in the author's infallible talent for entertaining social comedy, its melodrama of greed and deception, and the precise studies of politicians in their Victorian setting. With its dramatic jewel theft, its conniving and utterly mercenary heroine, and its assured writing style, The Eustace Diamonds is one of Trollope's best books.