[[quoteright:244:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fingersmith_8472.jpg]]

The third novel by British author Sarah Waters, ''Fingersmith'' tells the story of [[VictorianBritain Victorian]] thief Sue Trinder, who agrees to help con sheltered heiress Maud Lilly out of her inheritance, but ThePlan begins to go awry when she finds herself falling in love with the innocent and beautiful Maud.

The book was turned into a popular Creator/{{BBC}} miniseries in 2005. The story was re-imagined in Korea under Japanese occupation in the 2016 film ''Film/TheHandmaiden''.

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!!Contains examples of:

* AdaptationDyeJob: Maud is described as having fair hair in the book, but is a brunette in the adaptation.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Maud, in the book. She enjoys hurting her servants, physically and emotionally, she has moments of what seems to be depersonalization, and also displays ''some'' symptoms of OCD. She's originally afraid it's [[InTheBlood her mother's madness]], but it's actually likely this is how [[ConditionedToAcceptHorror her circumstances shaped her]]. Also the drops, of course.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Gentleman. He's a well-dressed dandy who can effortlessly charm the ladies, but has no actual sexual interest in them. It's left rather unclear in the book, though, whether he's actually a DepravedHomosexual (WordOfGod confirmed that [[WordOfGay he is indeed gay]]).
** Charles just really wants to be with Mr. Rivers despite knowing he's wicked and being StupidGood himself.
* AntiVillain: [[spoiler: Mrs. Sucksby]] is remarkably sympathetic for someone who [[spoiler: condemned her adoptive daughter to a FateWorseThanDeath in order to get her biological daughter back, as well as a whole lot of money]]. It helps that she seems to feel regretful almost immediately, and that [[spoiler: she takes the blame for the murder of Gentleman]].
* BattleaxeNurse: Nurse Bacon and her coworkers certainly fit.
* BecomingTheMask: Both Maud and Sue.
* BedlamHouse: [[spoiler:Sue]] ends up here and [[spoiler:Maud was raised here.]]
* BreakTheHaughty: Mr Lilly and his staff do this to Maud, when she first comes to Briar.
* BrokenBird: Maud... oh so much. Sue as well.
* BrokenPedestal: Both Sue and Maud have this done to them numerous times.
* DefectingForLove: Sue and Maud both consider it while The Plan is moving along[[spoiler:, but decide against it]].
* DepravedHomosexual: Gentleman fits this trope surprisingly well for being written by a putatively gay-friendly author.
* DoubleEntendre: The title.
* TheDungAges: London.
* [[spoiler: EarnYourHappyEnding]]
* EvilPlan: It all starts with conmen trying to swindle an heiress....
* [[spoiler: FakeMark: Maud]]
* GambitPileup: What starts as an EvilPlan on the part of Gentleman and Sue turns out to be part of [[spoiler:Gentleman and Maud's]] plan. Which, in the end, was all orchestrated by [[spoiler:Mrs. Sucksby]], unbeknownst to ''anyone''.
* GeneHunting: Inverted and deconstructed. [[spoiler:Mrs. Sucksby tries to exchange her adoptive daughter for her biological daughter who's been raised by a rich family (she thinks the girl will love her just by virtue of being her biological daughter -- she's wrong).]]
* GenreSavvy: [[spoiler:Maud]]'s read enough lesbian erotica to know how to [[spoiler: pretend to be seduced]].
* GirlsLove: Sue and Maud. Yes, they go all the way [[spoiler:...and survive]].
* GoAmongMadPeople
* IncompatibleOrientation: "Mr and Mrs Rivers", i.e. Gentleman and Maud. [[spoiler:As both are homosexual, their "wedding night" consisted of Gentleman cutting his hand to put blood on the sheets, then sleeping in a chair because he didn't trust Maud not to strangle him in his sleep.]]
* KickTheDog: Despite being a story chalk-full of morally-grey people, most of them only do what they do for a reason, which generally involves profit. Gentleman, however, takes pleasure in small acts of pointless cruelty. [[spoiler:[[HoistByHisOwnPetard It even gets him killed]], as he died in a scuffle that began when Maud tried to get him to stop telling Sue the truth.]]
* ManipulativeBastard: [[spoiler:Mrs. Sucksby]]. Also, Gentleman, who understands other people very well and uses the insights against them.
* OldDarkHouse
* OminousFog
* SmugSnake: Gentleman.
* SwitchedAtBirth: [[spoiler: Maud and Sue]].
* VictorianLondon
* UnwittingPawn: Subverted with Maud and Sue.
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:That bitch knew everything. She was in it from the start.]]
** [[spoiler:My own dear girl.]]
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