The career and loves of Trollope’s Irish MP, Phineas Finn are followed in one of the most enjoyable novels of the Palliser series.
Phineas makes his way, being invited to the houseparty of a wealthy Scottish MP, Robert Kennedy, who, unexpectedly, wins the hand of Lady Laura. Clarkson, a moneylender, harasses Phineas over a bill he guaranteed for a friend, Laurence Fitzgibbon.
Phineas loses his safe seat, but unexpectedly gains another from Laura’s father Lord Brentford when he saves Robert Kennedy from garrotters. Quintus Slide offers Phineas the support of his paper, if Phineas will support the campaign for a secret ballot.
Glencora is worried that the friendship between the Duke of Omnium and Madame Max may threaten the inheritance of her little son Planty. Phineas’ friendship with Lord Chiltern sours when they both pay court to Violet Effingham.
After his encounter with Chiltern, Phineas is rejected by Violet, despite Laura’s help. His championing’ of Mr Monk and Irish Tenant Right also threatens his political career. Omnium invites Madame Max to Lake Como. –
Violet accepts Chiltern. Madame Max refuses Omnium, but keeps his friendship and that of Glencora. Phineas helps Laura flee from Kennedy at a party at which Omnium collapses.
Phineas Finn is compelled to resign over Irish Tenant Right. Convalescent and cared for by Glencora and Madame Max, Omnium is only interested by the scandal of the moment – Lizzie Eustace’s attempt to keep the diamonds that her dead husband’s ‘s family claim as an heirloom.
© British Broadcasting Corporation 1974. The Pallisers Radio Times Special