"He is so scandalously weak, and she is so radically vicious, that they cannot but be wrong together. The very fact that such a man should be a bishop among us is to me terribly strong evidence of evil days coming". When Reverend Josiah Crawley, the impoverished curate of Hogglestock, is accused of theft it causes a public scandal, sending shock waves through the world of Barsetshire.
The Crawleys desperately try to remain dignified while they are shunned by society, but the scandal threatens to tear them, and the community, apart. Drawing on his own childhood experience of genteel poverty, Trollope gives a painstakingly realistic depiction of the trials of a family striving to maintain its standards at all costs. With its sensitive portrayal of the proud and self-destructive figure of Crawley, this final volume is the darkest and most complex of all the Barsetshire novels.