The best of Victorian fiction, read with wit and verve. Thackeray was a master of character development and a first-rate satirist, with a sense for farce and delicious understatement. He is engagingly gossipy in tone, pulling the reader into his confidence, but his backdrop is ultimately dark and caustic. In the end, VF describes every manner of con man and woman under the sun, painting both predator and prey with equal reality, insight and cynicism. This listener was astonished to find a passing but vivid depiction of elder abuse in Sir Pitt's nurse.