Mapp and Lucia is the centrepiece of E. F. Benson's series of Lucia novels - bringing together for the first time the eponymous middle-aged doyennes of polite 1930s society Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Emmeline Luca (Lucia to her friends).
Lucia, recently widowed, is the newcomer to the village of Tilling and eager to wrest the reins of social supremacy from the incumbant Miss Mapp and install herself as its benevolent dictator. In their polite acts of sabotage and ruthless jockeying for the position of cultural arbiter Mapp and Lucia tear up the conventions of drawing-room bridge evenings as their deadly weapons.
Things finally come to a head with Miss Mapp's audacious attempt to steal her rival's celebrated Lobster a la Riseholme. E.F. Benson's charming satrical bent turns the pretensions and snobberies of English village life into a vicious comedy.
©1931 E. F. Benson (P)2010 Hachette Digital
"all too short"
Beautifully read but unfortunately heavily abridged which knocks out much of the original's charm. We're never told, for instance that 'the sostenuto pedal proved a thing of nought' and all the other wonderful E F Benson expressions which make his novels such a joy.
But I did liked Margolyles' 'Georgie' voice; deep, lazily drawling without the obvious campness that the charecter's usually laden with.
It's impossible to not be drawn into the world of Mapp and Lucia, as well as the superb Georgie. The struggles for power, the subtle ploys and the overt manipulation. Politicians could take lessons from the ladies of Riseholme and Tilling. The stories are read with verve and a full appreciation of Benson's style. My only complaint is that this is an abridged version, there's just not enough!
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