Well, if you're not disposed to read Balzac, I doubt there's anything I can say that will induce you to pick up a fat 19th century French novel. But yes, this was grand.
Like Shakespeare, it contains lines of dialogue so trenchant that they echo down to us still in literature and film.
"In that case I will make you an offer that no one would decline." This has been reworked by Mario Puzo in the novel The Godfather (1969) and its film adaptation (1972); "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse".
"The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been discovered, because it was properly executed." This sentence has been frequently – and somewhat inaccurately – paraphrased as: "Behind every great fortune is a great crime."
There's a reason people are still reading this almost 200 years later.