Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the whole mapp from a to z, 1 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Make Way for Lucia The Complete Lucia (Queen Lucia, The Male Impersonator, Lucia in London, Mapp and Lucia, Miss Mapp, The Worshipful Lucia, Trouble for Lucia (Hardcover)
I am reviewing this edition which is the only complete single volume edition of the novels of E F Benson regarding Elizabeth Mapp and Emmaline Lucas. These stories concern two Edwardian ladies of leasure who dominate their respective towns until in the fourth novel they clash when Lucia moves to Miss Mapp's Tilling. The TV and radio adaptations focussed on this clash, and the less well known earlier stories of their separate empires are equally amusing. At slightly over 900 pages this is a serious volume and readers of less muscular forearms may find the Penguin two volume edition more to their liking. I struggle to describe these books to anyone who has not read them and "a camp P G Wodehouse" is the best I can manage. Like Wodehouse he was much admired by other writers, such as Nancy Mitford and Noel Coward and Miss Mitford captures something in her short preface in which she says of the characters "none of them could be described as estimable, and they are certainly not very interesting, yet they are fascinated by each other and we are fascinated by them." Their obsession with one another's status and doings do ensnare us, just as much as Wodehouse's characters attempts to secure and avoid matrimony. They are dated and of their time, with their servants and "listening in" of the radio, but that is part of their charm.
New to lovers of the TV series will be the narratorial voice, with which Benson describes how the new additions to the Lucas house can be distinguished by the way that they look so much older than the Elizabethan stem onto which they have been grafted; exactly what fussy little Georgie Pillson does when he is "busy indoors" and the way that "anger and the gravest suspicions about everybody" had kept Miss Mapp "young and on the boil".
My one quibble is with the cover illustration which isn't the way I imagine these three characters at all.
Oh and don't confuse this with the play of the same title please.
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