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Mapp and Lucia

(The Mapp & Lucia Novels #4)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,193 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Subtly brilliant comedy of social rivalry between the wars. Emmeline Lucas (known universally to her friends as Lucia) is an arch-snob of the highest order. In Miss Elizabeth Mapp of Mallards Lucia meets her match. Ostensibly the most civil and genteel of society ladies, there is no plan too devious, no plot too cunning, no depths to which they would not sink, in order to ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Black Swan (first published 1931)
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Donald It really makes far more sense to read them in order, or at least the first two Lucia titles, and Miss Mapp, if you really can't stick to the…moreIt really makes far more sense to read them in order, or at least the first two Lucia titles, and Miss Mapp, if you really can't stick to the published order, as it sets up their separate backstories, before they crash together here.(less)

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4.25  · 
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 ·  2,193 ratings  ·  190 reviews


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mark monday
Darlings, you simply must join us for...

AN ELIZABETHAN FÊTE AT TILLING VILLAGE!

And by "fête" we mean slaughter, darlings! Indeed, things shall get bloody, or at the very least, quite tense. Lips will be curled and stares will be cold and words will be delivered with a certain sardonic disdain - or perhaps a bright, cheerful condescension. Such things are par per il corso when it is Queen versus Queen!

Which Queen shall triumph? Shall it be the formidable Queen Elizabeth Mapp? She does have the ho
...more
Shawn Mooney
A charming, witty novel from 1935. Lucia, a beautiful young widow, moves to a Sussex village long dominated by the spinster Miss Mapp; their battle for social supremacy pulsates with refined vindictiveness that—no shame here—delighted me, several times to the point of squealing aloud. Amid the hilarity, I thought differently and deeply about things like nicknaming, pet expressions and "home". I loved this a thousand times more than expected.
Laurie Notaro
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the Lucia series so much that I only permit myself to read one book from it a year. I have two left after this one, and then I suppose I will start over again. If you're a fan of Cranston, Barbara Pym or Nancy Mitford, the Lucia series is like finding pure gold. If Dowager Violet Crawley is up your alley, then please help yourself to these books. Set in the English proper countryside mid-wars, Lucia aims to be the queen of every world she enters, aided and abetted by her "confirmed bachel ...more
Eve
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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"Miss Mapp had long been considered, by others as well as herself, the first social citizen of Tilling, and though she had often been obliged to fight desperately for her position, and had suffered from time to time manifold reverses, she had managed to maintain it, because there was no one else of so commanding and unscrupulous a character. Then this alien from Riseholme had appeared and had not so much challenged her as just taken her scepter and her crown..."

I am so sad this book is finished
...more
Colleen
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Michael
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
...more
Leslie
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, humor, ebook
The Lucia series should be read by anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen or Angela Thirkell!

Nov/Dec 2017 reread: I think that this is my favorite in the series. It would perhaps not be as funny to someone who hadn't read the previous books but the ongoing manoevers between Lucia & Elizabeth Mapp in order to gain social ascendency in the village of Tilling are hilarious as are the reactions of the villagers.
Tracey
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star, fiction
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
Kay
Aug 01, 2007 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
Jaina Bee
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Susan in NC
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still hold up as a favorite, got me through surgery and a hospital stay...;-)
Siria
Like reading a camp, bitchy version of Wodehouse in which every single character is a frightful, parochial snob. Delightful.
Katy Noyes
Mar 14, 2015 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
...more
Elisha Condie
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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
...more
MissJessie
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
...more
E.J. Lamprey
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-ten
I liked Lucia, exasperating and conceited as she was, in her own books. I liked Elizabeth Mapp,choleric and impossible,in her own book. But when E F Benson brought his two battle-axes together, he created an enduring delight which for me will never fade. He might be a bit of a marmite writer but when you do love him, you're a fan forever. He only wrote 6 books, but when my original anthology fell apart from re-reading I bought the whole set on Kindle. Like so many of my favourites, they are old, ...more
Heather Carrillo
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably 4.5 but goodness this was so enjoyable!
Maria Thermann
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Terence Manleigh
Book Four of the series, in which these two indomitable ladies meet for the first time and square off like King Kong versus Godzilla at a garden party. Hilarity ensues…. If you could only keep one book of the series, this is it.

If these genteel ladies were heads of state, there would be tens of thousands dead. The Wars of the Garden Produce, The Tilling Art Club Exhibition, the Italian Contessa and Lobster a la Riseholme … these epic conflicts have all the complexity and intrigue of Robert Grav
...more
Gemma Williams
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Lindley Walter-smith
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Kat
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
Alison
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Lise
Oct 16, 2013 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.
Mike Clarke
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nobody goes into kitchens to thank people for pâté: one can learn more about etiquette and style in a few pages with EF Benson’s splendid grotesques than in a whole volume of Debrett’s. Here are the ladies who lunch, locked in bitter and deadly enmity, whether it’s over the hanging of a few artless watercolours or the suspected theft of the recipe for the befamed lobster à la Riseholme. Lucia, today, would be the doyenne of the residents’ association (Mrs Dooms Patterson writ large) whilst I sus ...more
Martin Jones
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Near the beginning of Mapp and Lucia, a well-to-do lady called Daisy, living an unremarkable life in a picturesque Cotswolds village does her meditation. She tries to attain “a complete blankness of mind and exclude from it all mundane interests, which were Maya, or illusion.” Daisy finds complete blankness difficult to achieve because she is fascinated by her mundane interests, namely the staging of an Elizabethan masque on the village green in the summer of 1929. She finds these things interes
...more
Zen Cho
Aug 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: oldschool, edwardian
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
Amanda Grange
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love the Mapp and Lucia books, they're very funny comedies. In some ways they remind me of Jane Austen's novels, although they're set in the 1930s and they don't have any romantic elements. In fact nearly all the characters are middle aged. But, like Austen's novels, the books are set in small villages and they are wonderfully observed. Lucia reminds me of Mrs Elton, with her fake Italian and her social climbing, and Miss Mapp on occasion reminds me of Mrs John Dashwood. But despite echoes of ...more
Laura
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
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
Emily
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2018 Kindle ebook reread.

2015: Listening to the Prunella Scales audiobook again. Still marvelous!

2014 listening to the Prunella Scales audiobook. A fantastic performance. I believe this is the best of the Mapp & Lucia books.

"Miss Mapp" and "Mapp and Lucia" are where Benson really hits his stride. It's almost as if he was practicing how to write Elizabeth Mapp with his early versions of Lucia. Then when he got her right, Lucia could become the glorious, annoying, infuriating character that s
...more
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Edward Frederic "E. F." Benson was an English novelist, biographer, memoirist, archaeologist and short story writer.

Other books in the series

The Mapp & Lucia Novels (9 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)
  • Lucia and the Diplomatic Incident: A Short Story based on the Novels of E.F. Benson (Tom Holt's Mapp and Lucia Series Book 3)
“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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