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Miss Mapp (The Mapp & Lucia Novels #2)

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,229 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
E. F. Benson's strikingly original comic creation Miss Mapp is an arch-schemer and social climber from the British town of Tilling who spends her days using opera glasses and a notebook to chart her neighbors' affairs. Among her interests are Major Benjamin Flint, whom she has been trying to marry for years, and the underhanded Miss Susan Poppit.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Moyer Bell (first published 1922)
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. MilneAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueSiddhartha by Hermann HesseThe Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Best Books of the Decade: 1920's
85th out of 339 books — 741 voters
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine MansfieldThe Waste Land by T.S. EliotThe Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Velveteen Rabbit by Margery WilliamsBabbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Best of 1922
23rd out of 32 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,885)
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Jan 09, 2014 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
I've sat around and had discussions with friends about the genius behind the show Seinfeld: how can "a show about nothing" have run for so many seasons, and still manage to maintain its freshness and hilarity to this day?

That's exactly what I asked myself after I finished reading Miss Mapp. This is the third book in a series of six books (Make Way for Lucia) written by E.F. Benson spanning the early 1920s and ending in the late 1930s. A few times when I was asked to describe what I was reading
Aug 01, 2007 Kay rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anglophiles
In the third of his six "Mapp and Lucia" novels, Benson shifts the scene from the village of Riseholme to that of Tilling. Here the social queen is not the redoubtable Lucia Lucas of the first two books but rather one Elizabeth Mapp, who rules with rather a heavier and more judgemental hand.

Mapp is one of the great unlikeable-but-fascinating characters in all of comic literature. She is nosey, pretentious, mean spirited, and small minded. Yet she's as fascinating as a cobra. Benson, of course,
Feb 11, 2015 Jana rated it really liked it
Shelves: anglophile
I love reading about Miss Mapp! Adding to the fun is that in January I was very fortunate to get to visit the lovely village of Rye with my dear friend/fellow anglophile and stroll the streets where these books are set. It is not a must, of course, but the fact that I know exactly where Miss Mapp spied on the neighbors from her garden, watched the cars rounding the bend in front of the church, and her view down the cobblestone streets, adds to my extreme enjoyment & delight.

I look forward to
Apr 09, 2015 Nigeyb rated it really liked it
My introduction to the world of E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels was via the BBC TV adaptation broadcast in the UK in late December 2014. E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels were also recommended to me on GoodReads.

This is the second book in the Mapp and Lucia series, and the second one I have read. The novels, in chronological order, are:

Queen Lucia (1920)
Miss Mapp (1922)
Lucia in London (1927)
Mapp and Lucia (1931)
Lucia's Progress (1935) (published in the US as Trouble for Lucia (1939))

Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miss Elizabeth Mapp -- malicious, snooping, miserly and snobbish -- serves as the social center of Tilling, a thinly veiled portrait of the English town of Rye, Sussex, in the 1920s. Determined to maintain her position and to one-up her neighbors, Godiva Plaistow and Susan Poppit, MBE, Miss Mapp resents others' success and devotes hours to planning how to elevate herself. Aside from social-climbing, bridge parties and gardening, Miss Mapp's only other concern is the long-shot scheme of entrappin ...more
Jan 14, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
14 January 2008: I finished the book last night, finally! I've been so busy it was hard to devote any consistent time to the novel, though I did enjoy it immensley.

I wavered between awarding it four or five stars, because some aspects were truly outstanding and others were only slightly lacking--and it may just have been because I didn't read it daily, but it was a bit hard to keep the characters (except Miss Mapp) straight in the beginning, and the first 1/3 or so of the book were more unrelat
Lindley Walter-smith
Aug 23, 2012 Lindley Walter-smith rated it really liked it
Miss Mapp all on her own is a bit exhausting - so much evil and malice and spite in one plump and dimpled spinster, and none of Lucia's generous nature to lighten the mixture a bit. Miss Mapp's nasty plottings and the social jostlings of Tilling are still enthralling, and Diva is quite lovable. Acidly witty and all too perceptive.
May 04, 2010 Jeslyn rated it it was ok
I am now giggling through this next novel in Benson's series, which takes us to the even more backwater town of Tilling, and its resident "Queen", Elizabeth Mapp...

Benson still delivers the story in his masterful satirical style, but I have to admit that this is a town I would avoid if I contemplated travels to fictional places; Tilling seems to be inhabited by barely enough people to populate two bridge tables, nearly all of whom are miserly and constantly obsess about the cost of things, which
Jun 26, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it
Benson, E. F. (Edward Frederic) (1867-1940). MISS MAPP. (1922). ****.
Benson was a very popular novelist, essayist and biographer. In addition to his large output of novels, he wrote biographies of Sir Francis Drake, Ferdinand Magellan, Charlotte Bronte, Alcibiades, and Queen Victoria. He was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury. His most popular novels were those that featured Miss Mapp and/or Lucia. This one, obviously, featured Miss Mapp. Mapp lived in the village of Tilling, and was a spi
Apr 17, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having very recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Queen Lucia by E F Benson, it was a pretty safe bet that I would be reading the next Mapp and Lucia book in the Wordsworth collection soon after.
In Miss Mapp, we are introduced to a new set of characters who reside in another village – there is no connection (as yet) between Elizabeth Mapp and Mrs (Lucia) Lucas. Miss Mapp lives in Tilling, and like Mrs Lucas in her village of Riseholme she is very much at the centre of life there. Here Miss Mapp
Robert Stewart
Feb 05, 2014 Robert Stewart rated it it was amazing
This book has one of my favorite opening paragraphs of all time:

Miss Elizabeth Mapp might have been forty, and she had taken advantage of this opportunity by being just a year or two older. Her face was of high vivid colour and was corrugated by chronic rage and curiosity; but these vivifying emotions had preserved to her an astonishing activity of mind and body, which fully accounted for the comparative adolescence with which she would have been credited anywhere except in the charming little t
Jun 30, 2009 Bob rated it it was amazing
Third book in the series introduces a whole new set of characters who will meet the main ones in the next volume.
Along with the amusing descriptions of Machiavellian maneuvering in small town social circles are other sources of pleasure, one of which is that the characters' dialog (or the narration about them) spins an elegant web of allusion and quotation that reinforces the (mythical?) notion that people were once better educated - following the references in this one led me to Shelley, the "S
Jan 26, 2016 Shikha rated it liked it
Miss Mapp features the social life of upper-middle-class British people in the 1920s knit in a very tight community of a small, Elysian town called Tilling in England. It is part of a series called Mapp and Lucia, though this book is bereft of any Lucia.

E.F. Benson’s subtle language and astute observations into the social life of Tilling is commendable. He leisurely unveils several concerns of a society. He covers the evolving dynamics between the overlapping societal layers through innumerable
Oct 31, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
A comic, satirical look at the British upper class, particularly centred on Miss Mapp, a 40-year-old spinster who considers herself the social centre of the picturesque town of Tilling, and the arbiter of those with whom one should and should not associate.

In this book Miss Map navigates various crises, such as: what are her two gentleman neighbours doing staying up so late, and if one of them goes to bed early, why does he still sleep late; if it is appropriate to use the initials M.B.E. or if
Jul 03, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
Well, that blurb doesn't really do the book justice. Miss Mapp is such a frightful, fearsome person in so many ways, but somehow I love reading about her (and the rest of Tilling, of course). If you have a certain sense of humor (love Wodehouse?), this book hits all the right notes-- a perfect symphony of amusement.

I'd read Miss Mapp once before on my own. This time, it was a shared read with Donald, and I think I liked it even better the second time around. (Better than Queen Lucia, even, I thi
Oct 05, 2011 Sylvester rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book, humor
Spotted this on Bettie's list and thought I'd check it out - and it was worth it all right! Amazing cattiness and one-upmanship leads to hilarious consequences. I am definitely looking out for more of this series. My thanks to Bettie!
Aug 27, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it
All books by E.F. Benson are worth reading. The Mapp and Lucia books deal with the minutae of daily life in Tilling, actually Rye, where Benson lived. It is social comedy at it's best.
Allison Paton
Mar 04, 2010 Allison Paton rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anglophiles who love dry humor
An absolutely wonderful read; if you like farce and fun, this is the author for you!
Ian Brydon
Aug 15, 2014 Ian Brydon rated it it was ok
What a disappointment! I read 'Queen Lucia' earlier in the year and was entranced, and had looked forward to this book and the subsequent instalments in the series with great anticipation. This, however, proved to be lamentably wide of the mark.

I found myself lumbering through cloying prose peopled with stilted characters, and it proved to be an almost Herculean task to persevere through to the end. Still, that is not a mistake I shall make with any of the rest of the series. Let's just put it d
Oct 17, 2014 Bridget rated it really liked it
Oh she is such a cow! Such an amusing cow though. Miss Mapp is a fantastic character, she cannot mind her own business, she must know everything that is going on and she must always have the upper hand in every single transaction of daily life. She would make you cry with frustration. There are great running jokes throughout the story, my fave being the one of the dresses both she and Diva have created. There is clever repartee and such fun to be had at everyones expense. Bring on more E.F, Bens ...more
Laurel Hicks
Another reviewer likened this story to "Seinfeld," the show about nothing. Having just finished the book and seeing that review on my way to post my own, I find that a very apt comparison. I finished the book because I find it difficult to leave one unfinished, but it was more a labor of determination by the midway point than one of enjoyment. While I found the various subterfuges employed against neighbors of the first book somewhat diverting, the deceptions and revenges of this story felt much ...more
Sep 07, 2014 Spencer rated it really liked it
England is in a slide in 1922. Having lost a large portion of their young male population, the country is being run by some very interesting strong-willed women. Miss Elizabeth Mapp is one of them. The country is still experiencing shortages of basic food-stuffs, and hoarding is a hot topic, especially in Tilling, the quaint village that is the site of this novel. Life in Tilling is very competitive—being the first to know the latest gossip is #1 on most people's daily challenges. There seems to ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson is the third of the author's Mapp and Lucia novels, about light skulduggery in English country towns. The two manipulative heroines have not yet met in the series, which I suspect will occur in the next volume, Mapp and Lucia. I see the whole series as a feminine equivalent of Stephen Potter's famous books about One-Upsmanship in a village environment. As in the Potter books, there is no serious mayhem occurring, but many ploys and counter-ploys intended to win increased ...more
Dec 06, 2014 Mmyoung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The modern day reader who having come across E. F. Benson’ Queen Lucia and enjoyed it may find herself somewhat perplexed as to which book she should read next in order to get her Benson-Lucia-Fix. Standing in the library (or the bookstore) she sees a book entitled Miss Mapp. Having just read Queen Lucia the reader is comfortably sure that no lady of that name was among the Riseholme residents who made up Lucia’s social circle. Looking more closely at the cover the reader notices that the book i ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, 1920s
Miss Mapp lives in Tilling, a village every bit as concerned with keeping up appearances and being one step ahead of one’s neighbours as Riseholme is. She observes the comings and goings of her friends and acquaintances through her opera glasses from the bay window of her perfectly positioned house and, though she is shrewd (particularly when it comes to schemes for outwitting her neighbours), she frequently misinterprets or misjudges what she sees. Incidents include beating her friend to a new ...more
Oct 16, 2010 Scot rated it it was amazing
Miss Mapp is certainly formidable! Benson is a master at helping us see from the participants' perspective the every-woman-for-herself struggle for social standing among the comfortable in a quaint English village in the 1920s. Satirical, clever, and tightly constructed. I have been informed this is part of a larger series called "Mapp and Lucia" and apparently also was a program on British TV. I would expect the other books in the series offer more of the same review of adroit one-upmanship in ...more
Sep 13, 2014 Amethyst rated it did not like it
Shelves: mysteries
If you like playing bridge, are Anglophilic, or enjoy reading Wodehouse, and have a lot of free time yet are otherwise confined, this is a thoroughly decent book to read. I may still try to get through one of the other titles in the series, just because, for comparison. It's closest to a Miss Marple book, but not much happens, or a Doc Martin episode set in the 1920's. Skip it if you have a low-tolerance level for British humor, especially early 19th century British humor, what-ho!
Mar 20, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
Miss Mapp is a splendid creation. "Stately as a galleon" she sails through Tilling, hatching plots, suspecting everyone of the basest designs and all the time smiling like a crocodile. Benson's characters are sharply observed, but there is no cruelty in his writing. Miss Mapp is formidable and somehow endearing at the same time.

The inhabitants of Tilling and their affairs become as fascinating for us as they are for Miss Mapp. However, it is Miss Mapp herself who provides the greatest entertainm
Mar 27, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another reread that I know already is five stars!

Paragraphs like this one are why I adore E.F. Benson:

"Peace on earth and mercy mild," sang Miss Mapp, holding her head back with her uvula clearly visible. She sat in her usual seat close below the pulpit, and the sun streaming in through a stained glass window opposite made her face of all colours, like Joseph's coat. Not knowing how it looked from outside, she pictured to herself a sort of celestial radiance coming from within, though Diva, sitt
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Other Books in the Series

The Mapp & Lucia Novels (8 books)
  • Queen Lucia (Lucia, #1)
  • Lucia in London (Lucia, #3)
  • Mapp and Lucia (Lucia, #4)
  • The Worshipful Lucia (Lucia, #5)
  • Trouble for Lucia (Lucia, #6)
  • Lucia in Wartime (Lucia, #7)
  • Lucia Triumphant (Lucia, #8)

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“Miss Elizabeth Mapp might have been forty, and she had taken advantage of this opportunity by being just a year or two older. Her face was of high vivid colour and was corrugated by chronic rage and curiosity; but these vivifying emotions had preserved to her an astonishing activity of mind and body, which fully accounted for the comparative adolescence with which she would have been credited anywhere except in the charming little town which she had inhabited so long. Anger and the gravest suspicions about everybody had kept her young and on the boil.” 3 likes
“The Major's laughter boomed out again.

"And I never kept a diary in my life!" he cried. "Why there's enough cream in this situation to make a dishful of meringues. You and I, you know, the students of Tilling! The serious-minded students who do a hard day's work when all the pretty ladies have gone to bed. Often and often has old--I mean has that fine woman, Miss Mapp, told me that I work too hard at night! Recommended me to get earlier to bed, and do my work between six and eight in the morning! Six and eight in the morning! That's a queer time of day to recommend an old campaigner to be awake at! Often she's talked to you, too, I bet my hat, about sitting up late and exhausting the nervous faculties."

Major Flint choked and laughed and inhaled tobacco smoke till he got purple in the face.

"And you sitting up one side of the street," he gasped, "pretending to be interested in Roman roads, and me on the other pulling a long face over my diaries, and neither of us with a Roman road or a diary to our names. Let's have an end to such unsociable arrangements, old friend; you lining your Roman roads and the bottle to lay the dust over to me one night, and I'll bring my diaries and my peg over to you the next. Never drink alone--one of my maxims in life--if you can find someone to drink with you. And there were you within a few yards of me all the time sitting by your old solitary self, and there was I sitting by my old solitary self, and we each thought the other a serious-minded old buffer, busy on his life-work. I'm blessed if I ever heard of two such pompous old frauds as you and I, Captain! What a sight of hypocrisy there is in the world, to be sure! No offence--mind: I'm as bad as you, and you're as bad as me, and we're both as bad as each other. But no more solitary confinement of an evening for Benjamin Flint, as long as you're agreeable.”
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