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Publisher's Summary

Miss Elizabeth Mapp, magnificent grande dame and heiress, is always on the lookout lest her neighbors fall outside the bounds of perfect, exemplary manners. But her tightly controlled world is soon beset on all sides by interlopers, first in the disturbingly masculine form of two very different retired army officers, both of whom are anything but retiring in their conflicting aims upon her heart. Second, there appears the elegant, insidiously evil Contessa possessed of dazzling charm and diabolical designs.
(P)2001 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Nadia May does a hilarious Miss Mapp, the small-minded small-town heiress of a certain age who leads an absolutely full life spying on and attempting to best her neighbors." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Classic British Turn of the Century Comedy

The Lucia series by Benson is as fresh as it was 100 years ago. This is broad comedy, with a lot of absurdity. This is one of a six book series (as originally written) and introduces Miss Mapp, who is a wholly riduculous and mostly unlikeable character. But very, very funny; as we can all still some of oursevelves (and others) in this comdedy. The series was very daring for its time with a major gay character (not in this book, but all of the others), and a lesbian--but never any sex.

Nadia May is one of the better British readers, although her women (not surprisingly) are quite a bit better than her men. But in this series of books, only the women really matter. The men are just foiils for the plotting, backstabbing, and--when it all comes home to roost--the hilarious, slow-train-wreck-of-an-exposure.

This is not a romance though.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Benson at his satirical best

Benson's inimitable gift for satire shines in this classic. Yes, obviously it is very much a story of its time: that is the whole point. As others have said, this is certainly not a romance: it is satire in the finest British tradition. Sometimes darkly comic, sometimes farcical, it plays up the manners, customs, and social-climbing of a small society of seaside Edwardians. If you're not interested in reading that sort of thing, look elsewhere. But I daresay if you enjoy Wilde and Saki, you will adore Benson and long for more!

The narration is superb. From the brusque (and sometimes inebriated) exchanges of the military men to the catty competition of Elizabeth Mapp and "Diva Darling" Plaistow, the false brogue of the Reverend, and the flirtatious Contessa, Nadia May brings each character to life. Somehow you feel you reallly know them.

Of course I recommend you continue with the "Mapp and Lucia" series if you enjoy this book. And don't neglect Benson's supernatural short fiction: most of the stories are excellent entertainments for Hallowe'en and dark winter nights.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruth
  • Leonia, NJ, United States
  • 01-17-12

Fun and joyful

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, itis a funny, endearing story, a reminder of another time when life was so simple!

What did you like best about this story?

Mapp's character is funny and sooo hypocritical!

Have you listened to any of Nadia May’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Enjoyable

I had a little trouble getting into this book, but after about 45 minutes I was hooked. While I thought that Miss Mapp could be petty and gossipy, her little rants, plottings, and schemes seemed familiar and realistic. I even found myself laughing out loud at some of the conversations that Miss Mapp had with Diva. For me, the competitions between Miss Mapp and Diva were the best part of the book and I thought the book lost momentum when it followed other characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Delightful

Having read the Lucia books, I was revisiting an old friend in Miss Mapp. The reading was everything I had hoped it would be. I will listen to it again when my spirits need a lift.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Fun and joyful

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, itis a funny, endearing story, a reminder of another time when life was so simple!

What did you like best about this story?

Mapp's character is funny and sooo hypocritical!

Have you listened to any of Nadia May???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Delightful performance!

Nadia May does an outstanding job of narrating this wonderfully ridiculous story. Her Miss Mapp is perfection.

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Clean humor, very witty

I enjoy these clean books. The writing is sensational. It's like downton abbey (old woman style). Very good

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Perfect Narrator for this charming story

Any additional comments?

Nadia May was spot on as the narrator for this charming tale of English village life. A delightful listen for long summer days.

  • Overall

Boring...

The subject should be all I write on this book...boring. If you are looking for a turn-of-the-century romance, filled with sharp witty dialogue this is not it. If you are looking for a painfully slow story about the shallow cares of high society this is your book. The main character, Miss Mapp, was so annoying I found myself encouraging others in the book to scorn her and found no satisfaction in her happiness. The additional characters were no more loveable and I feel the overall listen was a waste of time.

4 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Philip
  • 04-22-10

and escapist delight

It would be difficult to say quite what it is about this audiobook that is so mesmerically wonderful. i've listened to it repeatedly. Familiarity just makes it more comforting- like a warm blanket.

It's a picture of a perfect world; a group of people living in a beautiful little town 'Tilling' (Rye really, as everyone knows, in Sussex) All the charecters have enough money to live comfortably, and servants to do the hard work so they have all day to plot against each other- living lives of constant point-scoring, petty meanness and one-up-manship.

We're still waiting for Blackstone Audio and Audible to bring us the sequels...

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 01-17-15

Sublime!

If you haven't read, or listened, to these before, you're in for a treat. There was an excellent TV adaptation at Christmas, 2014, but the great pleasure of these books, as with PG Wodehouse is not what happens (not much does), but the fantastically witty descriptions and dialogue. A TV adaptation can capture the dialogue, but not the language used for the descriptions.This particular reading (and Queen Lucia, another in the series) is performed by Nadia May, sometimes known by her real name of Wanda McCaddon, who captures it brilliantly. I would urge (a) you to listen to this, and to Queen Lucia, and (b) the publishers to commission, forthwith, unabridged versions of the rest of the Mapp & Lucia series

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Aroura Boriales
  • 05-29-13

Miss Mapp is my mother in law!

Very much of it's time but it's a time that I like. A wittily observed picture of small town middle class ladies of a certain age and their rivalries and frailties. It's actually very funny in it's own genteel fashion and Miss Mapp's similarity to my above mentioned relative made my blood run cold. He must have known her! Very well written, well read and entertaining.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deborah Hastings
  • 12-23-12

Hillarious & an enjoyable read!

This may have been published some 90 years ago but E.F. Benson's observation of people is still just a relevant for today. The story is s series of 'episodes' of Miss Mapp's life in Tilling [Rye] and the many interactions with fellow villagers. They are hilarious events such as decorating clothing with cut out flowers from curtains and consequential one-man-up-manship that takes place; The visit of the Prince of Wales and the schemes to meet him.



It is great descriptive writing that will have you chuckling out loud.



Nadia's reading is enjoyable with the various voices 'just right'. Read while on a 2 week cruise and has fond memories. I re-reading often enjoying going back to certain chapters for sheer escapism to Tilling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Claire Kendall-Price
  • 12-10-16

Such a hoot!

Wonderful depiction of insular English village life and characters between the wars. Great it's unabridged.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Helena
  • 12-05-15

Great escapism

Would you listen to Miss Mapp again? Why?

Maybe if I was ill. I don't usually revisit books unless they are firm favourites. Life's too short.

What did you like best about this story?

That it's total escapism from the demands of my daily life.

Have you listened to any of Nadia May’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I've not listened to any others. I might be tempted now, though

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not particularly, it's more of a gentle comedy

Any additional comments?

I found this on audible after watching the dramatisation on the BBC last Christmas. It was an easy, enjoyable listen, and it's a shame that there aren't many more unabridged readings of the other novels available.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gill
  • 02-22-15

Great characters

Elizabeth Mapp is an odious woman operating at the height of her game in a world beset with strict codes of conduct. The storms of rage and frustrated fury occasioned by the orchestrated oneupmanship is laugh out loud funny. I love this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • S Wood
  • 06-05-14

Perfectly charming A period piece

I remembered the TV series so was delighted to see the original book. I wasn't disappointed. Miss Mapp is an absolutely charming period piece that perfectly captures 1920's market town snobbery. Written with a perfect dry ascerbic wit that would put Stephan Fry to shame I would thoroughly recommend this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 03-01-15

My life seems uncomplicated in comparison

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, its an interesting view into the intrigue and snobbery of early 20th C England, but also very funny

What did you like best about this story?

I learnt some new vocabulary

What does Nadia May bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

excellent delivery, good timing

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

too long but a great car journey novel

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kitty Cat
  • 02-22-15

A Classic of British literature

E.F Bensons work should be held along side Wodehouse and Mitford, both social commentary and arch dialogue abound in this classic of English life.

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  • Fiona Thurn
  • 09-15-15

Thoroughly awful people, and excellent fun

Miss Mapp is an ill natured woman, beautifully drawn by E. F. Benson, and perfectly read by Nadia May. I'm wishing May had recorded all the Mapp and Lucia books. She's the best at depicting women and men equally well. A very entertaining listen!