Sarah Waters offers an intriguing blend of mystery and suspense, secrets and betrayal in her evocative Victorian underworld page-turner.

London, 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her ‘family’ of unwanted babies turned artful dodgers - ‘fingersmiths’. When one of Mrs Sucksby’s scams places Sue as a lady’s maid to an orphan-heiress in a sprawling Gothic mansion, the narrative explores even darker corners, among the pinched corsets and rustling skirts of Victorian England.

Shortlisted
The Man Booker Prize 2002
Published by
Virago
Publication date
Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters

About the Author

Sarah Waters’ novels have won the Betty Trask Award and the Somerset Maugham Award and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.
More about Sarah Waters

Listen to an extract from Fingersmith

Juanita McMahon brings Sarah Waters’ tale of an orphan who grows up among thieves to life.

Fingersmith audiobook cover on a beige background

The fact that Fingersmith received a lot of positive attention actually made me a bit anxious

Sarah Waters reads from Fingersmith

Fingersmith was among the books given away as part of World Book Night 2011. To mark the event, Sarah Waters read from the book at the event’s launch in Trafalgar Square. Watch her reading below.

Waters spins an absorbing tale that withholds as much as it discloses

Fingersmith on screen

In 2016, Korean director Park Chan-wook released The Handmaiden, which was inspired by Fingersmith.

The Handmaiden transported the action of the book from Victorian-era Britain to Korea under Japanese colonial rule. 

Another Gaze said the film was ‘a brilliantly dark ode to women’s desire and autonomy: a subject that remains as pressing today as it was a century ago’.

Watch The Handmaiden on Netflix here

A still from The Handmaiden.

Other nominated books by Sarah Waters