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Mapp and Lucia
E.F. Benson
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Mapp and Lucia (The Mapp & Lucia Novels #4)

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,699 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Mrs. Emmeline Lucas is the recently-widowed newcomer to the village of Tilling, eager to wrest the reins of social supremacy from the incumbent Miss Elizabeth Mapp and to install herself as its benevolent dictator. In their polite acts of sabotage, as they ruthlessly jockey for the position of cultural arbiter, Mapp and Lucia tear up the conventions of drawing-room diplom
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 28th 1984 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1931)
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Jan 31, 2010 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Perhaps my favorite series of all that I try to reread once a year. Endlessly hilarious and engrossing, even though all the jokes are frequently repeated (however, they become exponentially funnier each time they pop up) and nothing much happens. But because everyone in the book finds the minutia of their everyday (wealthy and rather pampered) existence so fascinating, it becomes of immense import to the reader as well.

I remember how upset I originally was when Lucia and Georgie left Riseholme
Delightful; amusing; gentle comedy of manners: while accurate descriptors of Mapp and Lucia, these words also make it sound twee and, perhaps, dated, which is far from the truth. Gossipy, waspish and, at times, malignant are also accurate, and go more to the heart of the humour.

Elizabeth Mapp hates Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas with a passion; Lucia despises and pities Mapp in equal measure. Each scheming and plotting to be the centre of their social circle, their machinations against each other must a
I have always liked the Britcom "Keeping Up Appearances". But it is a constant distraction to wonder why no one has ever murdered Hyacinth Bucket ("It's boo-KAY!"). She's amusing, but mostly because she is surrounded by family and … friends who recognize the fact that she's unchangeably outrageous, and they're stuck with her. (Unless they kill her, and since it's a sitcom they never do.) These other characters, the neighbors and her sisters and their families, and of course her poor bedeviled hu ...more
Elisha Condie
I expected a little more from this book, but that's not to say I didn't like it. These books are really well known and loved, but I'm totally new to them. (Reminds me of a friend who as a child thought she had discovered a very unknown and small band called "The Beatles" of which she must be one of a few elite fans).

It centers around Emmeline Lucas (Lucia) and Elizabeth Mapp. Lucia is new in town and Mapp can't stand for her to become the center of social life in small town Tilling. These two la
Jaina Bee
Jun 06, 2008 Jaina Bee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles
Recommended to Jaina Bee by: Uncle Kaz
I'm midway through the series, and I'm totally hooked! It's hard to explain why the conniving social sparring amongst snobbish pretentious idle rich Brits in the '20s & '30s is so fascinating— but I've always enjoyed a Jeeves & Wooster romp. This is how Bertie's Aunt Agatha lives.
Philip Andrea
Sep 07, 2014 Philip Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The whole series of Mapp and Lucia novels are a must-read. The author's delicacy and wit are brilliant. I can honestly say these are the only books I currently have that I read again and again. Every few years I re-start the series. As a person, his life (and the lives of his family) is extraordinarily interesting. His father was the Archbishop of Canterbury, none of whose six children married and his wife had a series of women lovers. Now add that to EF Benson's elegant high society connections ...more
Aug 28, 2008 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles
Battle of the titans! This is probably my favorite book in the Mapp and Lucia series. When Lucia moves in to Mapp's "territory," sparks are bound to fly -- and they do, spectacularly, but of course overlaid with a layer of civility that masks true feeling. Benson is better at dissecting (to hilarious effect) the petty jealousies and need for societal approval that drive us all. He does it in a way that leaves no doubt that he's fonder of people with these flaws than those with aspirations to be ...more
Katy Noyes
Mar 21, 2015 Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shame on me... for only discovering this book because of a BBC mini-series. How did I never hear of this 20th century classic? Every bit as witty and nuanced as my favourite classics, this is readable, relatable and a read to relish (to continue the alliteration).

A comedy of manners, of gossip and of one-up-womanship, it concerns a small English village in the 1930s and its residents. And a new addition to the town who stirs up interest and tension as her rivalry with the current social Queen i
One of my favorite series of all times, perhaps the absolute favorite. I read it every year, in the bathtub, and my copies are a wrinkled mess.

I love the characters in this book and the look into life how it was imagined to be (and maybe was) between the Wars for the well to do with no reason to earn a living. Life was a series of tea parties, bridge parties, garden parties (sometimes), church, etc. And don't forget the daily trip to the market.

This particular volume concerns the relationship b
Maria Thermann
Apr 21, 2012 Maria Thermann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite of all the Lucia books. Two upper crust ladies floating away on an upturned kitchen table, out to sea during a storm? An intriguing story already, but when you know the two ladies are arch enemies and would do anything to outsmart their rival, you have a great book that will make you chuckle from start to finish.

The two arch rivals of a small seaside town filled with snobbery certainly out-do each other in this one, going to war over recipes, water colour paintings and prett
Lindley Walter-smith
It is so hard to explain why I love this 1931 novel about two middle-aged ladies wielding bridge and dinner parties in a bid for social supremacy over a country village SO MUCH, but I adore it and can reread it over and over. It's so utterly delicious, and laced with poison.

There is no doubt that while the sickly sweet and petty Elizabeth Mapp and the pretentious pseudo-intellectual Lucia are fun alone in the 1920s novels, they don't really fizz and bang until they're in the same book. "Mapp an
Gemma Williams
Mar 19, 2008 Gemma Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Mrs Emmeline Lucas, aka Lucia, used to being queen of her society in the village of Riseholme. When she moves to Tilling, a pretty village by the sea, she tries to wrest social control from the hideous Miss Mapp and a battle for social supremacy ensues.
This is a very funny book indeed, and elegantly written. Mapp is a dreadful snob, and it's quite nice to see her get her comeuppance, but pretentious Lucia, who pretends falsely that she can speak Italian and nearly comes a c
Zen Cho
Quick, fun read; pretty much what I expected from the description on the back. You can see at the same time why Auden was a fan and why it isn't that famous any more. It's sharp and clever and occasionally kind, but the characters aren't really vivid or lovable enough, or the prose quite brilliant enough, for it to be a really lasting classic. (Compare Saki, whose every sentence is a perfectly-constructed delight; Wodehouse ditto. Wodehouse's characters aren't any more well-rounded, but his writ ...more
I adore these books - absolutely love Georgie and his bibelots. You just get lost in this tiny world of pugs, flowers, Queen this and that and just queens. You'll never hear Beethoven the same way again and Lucia is just perfect. These are period pieces, but they are filled with the quaint images of a splendidly underplayed hand. When "modern life" gets just too Blackberried, MSNed, and poked into a neat package of downloads, I just escape and read these over and over. These are NOT high brow. T ...more
Mar 12, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is as close to a perfect comic novel as I've ever read. Of course, it helps that I'm a fan of the small-English-village genre. (Why yes, I used to watch those English comedies on PBS on Sunday nights!) Benson brings together the two women who rule their respective villages and the result is a clash of the Titans on a small scale. Both Mapp and Lucia want to be the Queen bee, but of necessity they both have to pretend that they have perfect manners and no hard feelings toward one another. I' ...more
El humor británico siempre me hace reír, y esta novela está muy bien escrita, los personajes principales son tan encantadores como detestables.
Nov 29, 2013 Lise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After watching the really rather fantastic series, the thought of reading the book it was based on had me a bit dubious as to whether it'd ruin one or the other for me. How wrong I was, if ever there was a perfect adaption to television from such a well written, witty and charming book, this is it. Mapp & Lucia is sorely under appreciated in both forms, and I honestly couldn't recommend it more, especially to those who enjoy other similar series in the genre such as Jeeves & Wooster.
Dec 02, 2008 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Lucia serie some years ago, and in French (which means I probably lacked a lot of the subtleties of Benson's writing), but I remember laughing out loud and being utterly charmed by his characters. It's hilarious, very British, and it says a lot about British society in a humorous, ironic, delightful way. All of the books are equally good, and filled with the same sense of humor. Lucia is a great heroine, and her adventures are quite a treat.
Dec 03, 2007 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK - this book is LOL funny. It is also the volume of the series in which one hears... wait for it... the wryly compassionate voice of... still waiting? Alexander McCall Smith. I came by this author because Smith mentioned him in an interview (still online at Powells, I think).

Some folks seem to compare him to Jane Austen, whom I don't enjoy simply because I'm not one for anachronistic language, for the most part. This guy is more fun, anyway.
Jan 02, 2016 Haylie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To not beat around the bush, this book took a while for me to get into which is probably due to the writing style - a lot more polished and refined to reflect the 20/30s than other books I've read. Having said that once you've got through the first couple of chapters and Lucia is firmly residing in Tilling, the story picks up. There is a pointed humour in the actions of the characters and it's enjoyable to read about the social battles between Mapp and Lucia - while a lot of jokes are repeated, ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Very enjoyable, though someof the first part (in Riseholme) seemed slightly slow going to me, compared to the rest of the book. Maybe that's a reflection of the fact that the author himself was (by the time of the writing of this book) less enthusiastic about Riseholme, compared to Tilling.

The whole series has been even better on the second read-through than on the first. Witty and funny, of course, but also cozy. I find that I remember only small bits and pieces of incidents yet to come, and s
Nov 14, 2014 Ruthiella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I think when I am done with this series (only two more books to go), I am going to have go back and rate them all five stars. These hilarious satires of upper-class village snobbery and one-upmanship are such fun to read; so pitch perfect in tone and mannerisms. So many have compared the books to Wodehouse here on goodreads, so I am will have to pick up some Wooster and Jeeves when I run out of E.F. Benson’s works.

In this fourth book published in the series, Lucia, having conquered London in th
Verity W
Apr 06, 2015 Verity W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this on my list of things I should have read for some time - and then at Christmas the BBC did a dramatisation of Mapp and Lucia and it jumped up in priority. And it took me until April to get around to it! But it was a total treat - and gave me new respect for the adaptation - faithful to the book, but adapting it slightly so that it worked in episodes. This covers more time than the TV series did - and has an episode at the end hat I found a little bonkers, but all in all it was a wit ...more
Aug 17, 2013 Eleanor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, 2013-books
Delicious! How did I get through life without knowing Lucia until last year? And still two of her adventures left to savour.
Maggie K
May 03, 2014 Maggie K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maggie by: saw it in a shop
I have read this book many times. Written by EF Benson back in the 1920's (I think), it is set in the imaginary town of Tilling(based on Rye where Benson was mayor). It tells of the rivalry between Miss Mapp and Lucia, in time where there were several postal deliveries a day, a visit to the grocers can mean having your purchases delivered by the grocery boy and snobbery knows no bounds. Both women want to be at the top of the social ladder, never mind who they have to step on to get there. They ...more
This pivotal book with the meeting of the arch-rivals was, for the most part, more tame than I'd imagined it would be (certainly Olga Braceley - appearing in Riseholme and London - seemed to be a more worth opponent for Lucia than Elizabeth Mapp is in this book); with no really outstanding dramatic showdowns. At least not until right at the very end; at which point it was all packed in! (view spoiler) ...more
Mark Oldfield
Oct 19, 2015 Mark Oldfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-comedy
A charming comedy of manners that conjures up a bygone age when to not be invited to a lunch or dinner was a social slight beyond measure. It's a tribute to Benson's writing that Mapp and Lucia's scheming makes complete sense and their antics to outmanouvre one another grow increasingly frantic. I was particularly interested in teh book as it's set in Rye - 'Tilling' in the book - and I visit there frequently. A lovely comedy. I'll read another of these at Christmas I think.
Karen Barnacle
Jan 13, 2015 Karen Barnacle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming and very funny story of two women battling to be the most successful hostess of a tiny East Sussex town. Never have crashing bores, terrible snobs and the pretentious beyond belief been so amusing. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Tilling. 'Really dear?' asked Miss Mapp her smile widening across her gritted teeth. 'Tilling would be so dull without you. Fifteen guineas a week and garden produce not included.' 'Au reservoir! I have an afternoon of marrows to pickle!'
Mar 27, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the funniest and most delightful books I have ever read. We all know people who make martyrs of themselves, and Lucia is the prime example. Always scheming and quite determined to be top of the pile, she loves to blame others for inflicting all the hard work on her. "How you all work me so!" If she's not starring in a play, she's running for some political position. If she's not hosting a lofty aristocrat, she's opening an art gallery. Lucia will stop at nothing to be the most imp ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Mapp & Lucia Novels (8 books)
  • Queen Lucia (Lucia, #1)
  • Miss Mapp (Lucia, #2)
  • Lucia in London (Lucia, #3)
  • The Worshipful Lucia (Lucia, #5)
  • Trouble for Lucia (Lucia, #6)
  • Lucia in Wartime (Lucia, #7)
  • Lucia Triumphant (Lucia, #8)

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“There is a certain amount which I shan't mention publicly," Elizabeth said. "Things about Lucia which I should never dream of stating openly."
"Those are just the ones I should like to hear about most," said Diva. "Just a few little titbits.”
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