Cousin Bette is one of the best loved and most admired of Honore de Balzac's novels. A tale of seductive women and philandering men, of passionate affairs and spiralling debts, Cousin Bette paints a vivid portrait of Paris in the 1830s and '40s. It's a city full of temptations, in which money is king, morals are loose and the appeals of the virtuous are usually in vain. In the midst of it all sits a poor relation, Cousin Bette, like a spider in her web. Fuelled by bitterness and jealousy, she is determined to weave destruction into the lives of her extended family, the socially superior Hulots. With her friend and accomplice, the beautiful Madame Marneffe, Bette sets out to manipulate events so that men are brought to their knees and their wives to despair, and she attains the power and prestige she seeks Read by Alex Jennings. Translated by Marion Ayton Crawford. Abridged by Sally Marmion. Producer: Di Speirs.