Read Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson Online


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....

Title : Miss Mapp
Author :
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ISBN : 9781559212755
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Miss Mapp Reviews

  • mark monday
    2019-02-20 22:03

    Darlings, you simply must join us for...A BATTLE ROYALE AT TILLING VILLAGE!We have a scintillating lineup of local dignitaries pitted one against the other, prepared for fierce battle through tea time and perhaps up until a light supper, served buffet style on the sideboard. The stakes are high: losers risk a decided loss of self-esteem, diminished social cachet, quickly extinguished laughter from clusters of villagers idling in front of the market, and a range of droll expressions made at their expense from their former peers; their servants will no doubt report a surprising absence of invitations to various select garden parties. Blood shall be spilt to avoid such catastrophic consequences; teeth shall be gnashed and the chilliest of smiles shall be frozen on our combatants' faces. It shall be an entrancing affair!Our Players:The formidable Miss Mapp versus the intrepid Godiva "Diva" Plaistow. Whose dress shall be the most au courant? Who shall best reconfigure those charming flowers cut from old draperies into pleasing bits of flair? Who shall become the bestest of friends with that visiting Contessa? Who shall capture the juiciest, most current morsel of gossip - to be shared confidentially with only the closest of acquaintances?The redoubtable Major Flint versus the cunning Captain Puffin. 'Tis Army versus Navy on the golf links! Who shall be entitled to that extra bit of whiskey, and more to the point, whose turn is it to pay?The fearsome Miss Mapp versus the forever-bantering tag-team duo of Flint and Puffin. Shall the eagle-eyed Miss Mapp catch them out during their secret late-night tippling by each other's fireside? Of even more importance: shall Mapp best puffin-shaped Puffin to capture the heart of flinty Flint?The eccentric Quaint Irene versus The Moral Standards of Tilling Village as represented by the censorious Miss Mapp. Should, shall we say, "rather queer" eccentrics - no matter how wealthy - be allowed to paint their beloved, amply proportioned maid - au naturel? Let alone the local fish merchant! Quaint Irene's sharp talent at mimicry makes her a terrifying opponent.The parsimonious Miss Mapp versus the pecunious Isabel Poppit. Shall brash newcomer Mrs. Poppit best her opponent using her carefully honed talents of having more money, more servants, and certainly a much larger home?The Rubenesque Miss Mapp versus The Entire Village of Tilling. Shall the quite natural moral superiority of Mapp triumph over small-minded and lamentably nosy villagers who have certain questions concerning the hoarding of tinned food and coal, and who have certain feelings about the appropriate way to oh-so-casually greet a member of the Royal Family who may or may not be making a brief stop in Tilling? The odds are stacked against the Tillingites. As the song goes, "only the good die young"... and Miss Mapp is far from young. Place your bets wisely. Our money is on Mapp!

  • Eve
    2019-01-22 14:56

    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 as of late, I would get flustered about how best to explain it really is a book about "nothing in particular." Boring, you say? Far from it! I'm going to try to get my bearings in gear so that after reading this review hopefully you're not scratching your head, and wondering what the heck that was all about.Benson effectually peels the cover off of the town of Tilling, an idyllic English village on the coast, and lets the reader peer directly onto the comings and goings of the townsfolk. At its core is a group of genteel society folks living quiet lives that revolve around delicate routine: "...the days would scurry by in a round of housekeeping, bridge, weekly visits to the workhouse, and intense curiosity as to anything of domestic interest which took place in the strenuous world of this little country town." Miss Mapp runs this town like a true queen bee, and it's hilarious to watch her quash any attempts at revolt, and monopolize the town gossip and use it to her advantage...always. Mapp is a pretty ruthless character, and though not my favorite, I felt uncomfortable that a lot of her feelings and thoughts resonated with me. I always wonder how Benson knew so much about women. There are so many rules that are never said, just understood. When are these things ingrained into us? I especially loved the secondary characters, and how they added so much to the flora of the town. Diva, Miss Mapp's arch nemesis, is one of my favorite characters. She is equally as cunning as Mapp, but she has more of a heart. Quaint Irene, the town bohemian who wears men's clothes, and Mrs. Poppit, the rich widow throws her money in everyone's faces with her fancy dinners, are just a couple of the folks that liven up the town. If you're ever in the mood for a good laugh, you will definitely be in for a treat with this book and series. I can't wait to crack into the next book.

  • BrokenTune
    2019-02-22 18:58

    Ever since Summer-time had been inaugurated a few years before, it had been one of the chronic dissensions of Tilling. Miss Mapp, Diva and the Padre flatly refused to recognize it, except when they were going by train or tram, when principle must necessarily go to the wall, or they would never have succeeded in getting anywhere, while Miss Mapp, with the halo of martyrdom round her head, had once arrived at a Summer-time party an hour late, in order to bear witness to the truth, and, in consequence, had got only dregs of tea and the last faint strawberry.Ah, Miss Mapp and her merry band of villagers who are too refined to ask indelicate questions and therefore thrive on the misunderstanding that is fuelled by assumptions, gossip, and the hard of hearing. There is again much to love about the characters and their adventures such as the interaction between eccentrics who are trying to outperform each other only to realise that they also need each other as a respective audience. In this second book of the Mapp & Lucia series, a little too much whisky and a little too much eagerness for drama takes the story to its heights when a duel is arranged.As much as I enjoy parts of the stories, they lack the pace that would make them something I could look forward to. The pace is injected in the dramatisations, but in the books I find the lack of plot development is keeping my enthusiasm at bay. Had the books the same spark as the tv dramatisations, I would liken the stories to Wilde's Important of Being Earnest, which is what I had to think of a few times when reading about the exploits of Captain Flint and Major Puffin, and their supposed rivalry for Miss Mapp.“If your status in Tilling depended on a reputation for bloodthirsty bravery,” he said, “the sooner it was changed the better. We’re in the same boat: I don’t say I like the boat, but there we are. Have a drink, and you’ll feel better. Never mind your status.”“I’ve a good mind never to have a drink again,” said the Major, pouring himself out one of his stiff little glasses, “if a drink leads to this sort of thing.”

  • Kay
    2019-01-26 19:17

    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, is setting readers up for the great battle of the titans that ensues in the fourth book, when Lucia moves to Tilling and goes head-to-head with Mapp. Before doing that, however, Benson gives free rein to Miss Mapp in this novel, coincidentally introducing the denizens of Tilling. We meet the whiskey-and-golf-loving Major Benjamin Flint, his cohort Captain Puffin (who drowns in a bowl of soup), the eccentric and dandified Mr Wyse, who marries pretentious Susan Poppitt MBE, the unabashedly butch artist "Quaint" Irene Coles, and hapless and bumbling Godiva Plaistow, along with the affected Scotch-speaking Padre and his "Wee Wifie." These memorably eccentric characters more or less comprise Tilling society. Describing the plot of a Benson novel makes not a great deal of sense as the books are very episodic. However, the basic set scene invariably revolves around Miss Mapp (or someone else) trying to lord it over others, appear to be more than one truly is, or save face, with the requisite amounts of gossip, idle speculation, and unbridled envy thrown in for good measure. Despite the all-too-human failings of the Tilling-ites, Benson is never spiteful; instead he seems to positively relish his characters' imperfections and quirks. Keen observers of human foibles, particularly anglophiles, are especially susceptible to this intimate little world. As Nancy Mitford wrote in her famous introduction to these novels, "None of them [Riseholme or Tilling residents] could be described as estimable, and they are certainly not very interesting, yet they are fascinated by each other and we are fascinated by them....The art of these books lies in their simplicity. The jokes seem quite obvious and are often repeated: we can never have enough of them." Indeed, those who fall under the spell of these delightful books can never have enough of them. I've read the series at least four times over, with many forays into Benson's other works, but I inevitably end up coming back to the Mapp and Lucia saga itself.

  • Terence Manleigh
    2019-02-10 19:54

    Book Two of the series, in which the Reader is introduced to Miss Mapp, social dominatrix of the seaside town of Tilling and future arch-rival of the matchless Lucia. Here, she gets a novel all to herself and threatens to chew it to bits with her great, gleaming, hypocritical teeth. Wickedly funny.

  • Susan in NC
    2019-02-20 19:03

    I'm in the mood for fun, light reads, so decided to reread Benson's Lucia and Mapp books this year. I read Queen Lucia not long ago and was instantly immersed in the social schemes and vicious gossip of Riseholme; but divine Lucia, charming Georgie and the delightful opera singer Olga Bracely are one thing, Miss Mapp is another! She is truly one of the most scheming, hypocritical, suspicious and angry characters I've ever read, ruling Tilling with as iron a fist as Lucia rules Riseholme, but without the velvet glove! Miss Mapp shamelessly spies on her neighbors with opera glasses, claiming to be engrossed in her "sweet flowers" as she perches in her garden room at the head of Tilling's busiest street like a bird of prey, waiting to swoop on anything she considers not up to Tilling's (her) standards. Like the other Lucia books, nothing much happens among these wealthy, middle-aged British villagers, but Benson weaves his brilliant spell and I am enthralled, trying to find uninterrupted stretches of time to indulge my addiction to his snarky, hilarious, brilliant writing, grinning like a fool and often laughing out loud...The back of my beautiful Moyer Bell edition of this book best describes what I love about this book - indeed, all the Lucia books - it describes Miss Mapp as a fortyish spinster, "anger and the gravest suspicion of everybody had kept her young and on the boil...Nothing escapes her. Miss Mapp is a hilarious, sharply observed satire that lovingly but pointedly pokes fun at the feuds and foibles of English society in miniature." Perfectly delicious - I may skip Lucia in London and head right for the clash of the titans-Mapp and Lucia!

  • Leslie
    2019-02-13 15:17

    3.5* rounded up for this audiobook edition.It has been decades since I read the Mapp & Lucia series and I had forgotten much this entry (2nd in publication order but 3rd in the omnibus). I found Miss Mapp meaner than I remembered but the book funnier (so often the way in satires that the nastier characters are the source of most of the humor).Nadia May does a marvellous narration so I am glad to have listened to this rather than read my Kindle edition.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2019-01-29 16:07

    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 entrapping her neighbor, an Army captain and middle-aged bachelor named Benjamin Flint, into matrimony.Sounds like an outdated bore? In fact, E.F. Benson's biting satire on upper-middle-class pursuits proves hilarious, sort of a more cynical version of a P.G. Wodehouse novel. If you're a fan of M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series or of Julian Fellowes' Snobs, you'll love all of the books in the Mapp & Lucia series.

  • A.J.
    2019-02-14 21:14

    This is the second in the Mapp and Lucia series (or third if one goes by a popular re-ordering). While the first book concerned the sprightly Lucia in the town of Riseholme, this one concerns the conniving Miss Mapp in the (I suppose nearby) town of Tilling. There is a passing reference made to Riseholme but otherwise this is a completely separate book only really connected through the later volumes where Lucia and Mapp meet. However both of the first two books are identical in their biting satire of the well-to-do of the time.Miss Mapp herself is something of a monster of a character. She is supremely involved in everybody else's business to the point of spending large parts of her days putting herself in the position of being able to spy on others (her house and windows on a corner of two well travelled streets give her a wonderful and easy vantage point). While one may wonder why others in the town put up with it, it must be noted that she has just enough social grace to keep herself included in things and she has a fierce cleverness that helps her to balance and (usually) get away with it.It also doesn't hurt her that Tilling is absolutely stocked to the brim with residents who are busybodies. Though Miss Mapp is the queen of the busybodies, no one really minds all that much because everybody else is doing it too. Well, at least most of the women, who make up most of the major characters. The two older bachelor men who live across the street from each other, in full view of Mapp's windows and ever-gazing eyes, spend their time trying to sneak around the female busybodies instead.While Lucia's Riseholme set had a more oblivious and blithe atmosphere, Mapp's Tilling set has a (slightly) more frugal and anxious air to it. No one (of the main characters) really works in either and everyone in both mostly spend their days in leisurely pursuits, but in Tilling at least there is a show of the characters dutifully going shopping for daily necessities on the main street on a regular basis and complaints about prices and hoarding and the like. In Riseholme I would guess that a play to the higher class or nobility would be openly admired, but in Tilling it is fodder for criticism. In a sense I might say that Riseholme is the optimistic while Tilling is the pessimistic and Lucia is the glass half full while Mapp is the glass half empty. Really that's a little too severe but it does help to easily encompass the difference between the two.While I slightly preferred the first book in the series, this one has its moments as well. One moment in particular really had me laughing out loud and I thought I wanted to mention it in my review, but alas I forgot what it was, heh (I actually finished the book about two weeks ago but just now sat down to review it). I think it had something to do with Miss Mapp being put in an uncomfortable and comeuppance sort of position. There are a few moments like that but the one I wanted to recall is not complying with my desire for it to re-enter my consciousness at present.I look forward to the rest of the series and especially to Miss Mapp and Lucia meeting. By the way, I heard the Benson was the Queen Mum's favourite author and I can see why.I listened to the audiobook read by Nadia May. She also narrated Queen Lucia and so I was already prepared for her great voice work.

  • Karin
    2019-01-22 21:21

    3.5 starsMiss Elizabeth Mapp, who is on the other side of 40, has a view of the entire neighbourhood where she sees and conjectures much. She has her little tiffs with Diva, particularly over clothing, and she secretly wishes one of the gentlemen in the neighbourhood will marry her, although he has been rather naughty and staying up until all hours at home. But there are a myriad of fun characters, little events and things that make one chuckle in this book.While I can't say that I like the character Miss Mapp quite as well as I like Lucia, I did enjoy the story and the cast at least as much. Although this novel started off rather slow for me, by the middle of the book I was having fun with it, and if you like Lucia, EF Benson or witty books set in 1920s England, I recommend this.

  • Jana
    2019-01-30 18:59

    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 Miss Mapp being joined by Lucia in the next volume. And the amazing (per said anglophile above who got to see the advance screening) BBC production of these books out now in the UK. Come along to the USofA soon, please!Here's some BBC info:

  • Kathryn
    2019-02-07 20:15

    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 unrelated vignettes, rather than a continuous storyline as the latter chapters proved to be. Then again, I found Benson's style charming, witty and engaging; intelligent without being overindulgent or difficult. He was able to convey the innerworkings of his characters' (complex and amusing) minds with remarkably clarity and humor.It was impossible not to smile and chuckle inwardly at the various antics of the characters in their quests to discover and spread the juciest gossip of charming wee Tilling. The one-ups-manship is staggering and the "keeping up appearances" and even malice of some of the characters was amusing in Benson's story, but would have been truly revolting in real life as no one seemed to truly care about anyone but herself. So, it is difficult to completely love a book when it is impossible to love any of the characters. I appreciated Benson's style, humor and insight into the pettiness and social clamboring of many folks--but, then again, I'd rather not invite Miss Mapp and her "friends" over for tea.**********************************************************I began this book over the Thanksgiving holiday--but only managed about a chapter what with all the festivities and trying to get the new apartment looking like a home instead of a maze of boxes! From what I can tell, though, the book promises to be charming. Cozy-cute British village setting, an interesting assortment of inhabitants, all seen through the keen and discriminating eyes of Miss Mapp. So far, she is a deliciously annoying combination of Rachel Lind from "Anne of Green Gables" and Mrs. Bucket (pronouced "boo-kay!") from British TV's "Keeping Up Appearances." This promises to be quite a ride!!! :->

  • Lindley Walter-smith
    2019-01-22 14:06

    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.

  • Kathryn
    2019-01-24 14:04

    Oh my goodness, how snooty, how nosey, how absolutely delightful. A cup of tea solves everything especially drinking it while looking out the window and observing everyone. This was such fun.

  • Nigeyb
    2019-01-30 15:14

    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))There are also five other books based on the same characters written by other authors.Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known by all as Lucia (due to her penchant for using Italian phrases), doesn't appear in this book at all. Instead we meet the eponymous Miss Mapp and her fellow residents of Tilling (based on E.F. Benson's home town of Rye in Sussex). I enjoyed this even more than Queen Lucia, particularly the supporting cast and of those the bickering double act of Major Flint and Captain Puffin produced some memorable comedic moments.So it's another undemanding, well written, amusing tale of snobbery and social oneupmanship that has kept my enthusiasm levels high for the the rest of E.F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia novels.4/5

  • Robert Stewart
    2019-01-26 15:11

    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 town which she had inhabited so long. Anger and the gravest suspicions about everybody had kept her young and on the boil.Benson is a master at making the petty seem diabolical. And the construction of some of his sentences is wonderfully comic. But his books seem to bog down a bit after about a third of the way through. They seem to be in need of some sort of plot, even a totally silly plot like any of Wodehouse's. As it is, you just move from incident to very similar incident. Things begin to become completely predictable and the language that was refreshing in chapters 1-4 sounds a bit stale by chapter 10. That said, the series seems well worth reading.

  • Emily
    2019-02-08 15:20

    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, sitting opposite, was reminded of the iridescent hues observable on cold boiled beef. But then, Miss Mapp had registered the fact that Diva's notion of singing alto was to follow the trebles at the uniform distance of a minor third below, so that matters were about square between them.Rereading in 2014, Nadia May's sublime performance again.Listened to the audiobook again as traveling entertainment as we drove to Missouri and back. Still fantastic!

  • Lady Drinkwell
    2019-02-02 14:05

    Although I did love this book it is probably my least favourite in the series. Miss Mapp is as maddening and Lucia but without her saving graces. There is also a lot of discussing of bridge which I could not follow not being a bridge placers myself. This does continue in the other books but not to the same extent. I really started to enjoy the second half with the tale of the two military gentlemen which is extremely funny

  • Laurel Hicks
    2019-02-19 22:08


  • Jamie Collins
    2019-02-14 15:00

    This is pure comedy, of course, and it was amusing, but as with the first book I was bothered at times by the intense social anxiety. Miss Mapp occupies herself with playing bridge and spying on her neighbors in the apparently tiny village of Tilling. There isn’t much of a plot; this is rather a series of vignettes. I enjoyed watching the whole village pretend they didn’t care that the Prince of Wales’s train was stopping by the village. “She was quite determined to see him, but more inflexible than that resolve was the Euclidean postulate that no one in Tilling should think that she had taken any deliberate step to do so.”I enjoyed the old gentlemen friends who overindulged and quarreled, and woke the next morning terrified over the pending affair of honor. “His anger was gone, his whisky was gone, and in particular his courage was gone.”I liked the vicar, who was “humorously archaic in speech”, except when he forgot. “What ho, fair lady! Methinks thou art forsworn! Let me have a keek at the last trick but three!”It was harder to enjoy some bits, such as the pure spitefulness of Miss Mapp deliberately spoiling her friend’s debut of a new dress. Despite the petty backstabbing and bickering, none of the villagers seem to take serious or long-lasting offense. “If quarrels were permanent in Tilling, nobody would be on speaking terms anymore with anyone else in a day or two, and (hardly less disastrous) there could be no fresh quarrels with anybody, since you could not quarrel without words.”

  • Agnieszka Małgorzata
    2019-02-10 20:04

    The Mapp and Lucia series, based on the first two novels, seems to be a badly executed satire on aspiring English high society. It's especially painful as the author1) clearly thinks there is a "true" high society, of which the described characters are poor imitations literally as well as figuratively, as evidenced by an inclusion in each of the books of a truly interesting, well-living, amiable member of the former;2) believes that no subject is boring enough as long as it showcases the shortcomings of said characters;3) has a very clear view of what interests women in general, and awful, low-minded women in particular, including endless contests over who wore a better dress or whose bridge party was spoiled more irreparably, or who provided better bites at tea and how it spoiled the culinary achievements of others, while at the same time the male characters are pictured as at most amiably shallow.I get it: some people are awful and awfully stupid at that. Is that a good enough reason to immortalize their characteristics in a series of books? Questionable.

  • Ali
    2019-02-03 18:03

    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 sits in her garden room with a notebook at her side keeping tabs on the comings and goings of her neighbours. Where I found Lucia an unlikeable character who I was capable of feeling some sympathy with, I found Miss Mapp to be utterly hateful. Gossipy, sniping and conniving Elizabeth Mapp has set herself up as the moral majority, and yet acts with such blinding selfishness it is breath-taking. Constantly at war with Mrs Godiva Plaistow, Elizabeth is led into to several awkward situations of hilarious confusion and toe curling coincidences which only serve to enrage Miss Mapp further. “Oh, Major Benjy,” said Elizabeth. ‘You’re all making fun of me and my simple little frock. I’m getting quite shy. Just a bit of old stuff that I had. But so nice of you to like it. I wonder where Diva is. We shall have to scold her for being late. Ah – she shan’t be scolded. Diva, darl-‘The endearing word froze on Miss Mapp’s lips and she turned deadly white. In the doorway, in equal fury and dismay, stood Diva, dressed in precisely the same staggeringly lovely costume as her hostess. Had Diva and Miss Greele put their heads together too? Had Diva got a bit of old stuff..?Miss Mapp pulled herself together first and moistened her dry lips.‘So sweet of you to look in, dear,’ she said ‘Shall we cut?’ Also resident in Tilling is Mrs Susan Poppit – with her MBE and her sables – her bridge parties and her tale of meeting the King. Across the road from Miss Mapp are Major Flint and Captain Puffin two argumentative old soldiers who play golf, and argue continually, and conspire to pull the wool over Miss Mapp’s eyes. Miss Mapp however has for some time set her cap at the poor old Major (who I rather liked – silly old duffer) and really wants to get him away from the bad influence of Captain Puffin. One of the most popular topics of speculation in Tilling is the sister of Mr Wyse – allegedly a Contessa – who no one quite knows whether to believe in. As the year progresses it seems that the Contessa really is going to put in an appearance. Elizabeth is naturally out to impress – seeing an opportunity to increase her social standing. Although I enjoyed this novel I did find that I didn’t like it quite as much as Queen Lucia – that could however have been because I was reading it during the first couple of days back at work – after a blissful two week break. I am looking forward to meeting up again with Lucia in the third novel of this collection.

  • Tony
    2019-01-23 16:58

    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 spinster of about forty years old. Her main activity in life was to sit by the window of the garden room in her house and monitor all the activities of the people of the town. Her goal in such observations was to gather data that would put her one-up over most of them and help her rise socially in the eyes of the villagers. She had several close (?) women friends who were also spinsters, but she concentrated on somehow getting ahead of them in social affairs and in knowing things that they didn’t. There also two eligible men in the village that she continually tried to trick into matrimony, although she was not successful. these were Major Flint (army, ret.) and Captain Puffin (navy, ret.). The main interest for these two men was their daily round of golf together and, secretely, their carousing together at night at each other’s house and imbibing a significant quantity of brandy. The town of Tilling was full of the usual English eccentrics, and Miss Mapp was on the top of the list. Benson manages to tell his story with a great deal of humor – not the slap-your-thigh type, but the kind that has you smirking hours afterwards. He also has marvelous descriptive powers for his characters and uses them unspareingly. When describing one of the women, he notes: “...she had such a roundabout figure that her waistband always reminded you of the equator.” The book has no central plot as such, but is a concatenated string of incidents involving many of the characters. The novel is a pleasurable read. Recommended.

  • Jeslyn
    2019-01-23 21:01

    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 gets a bit monotonous after a while. Miss Mapp is not nearly as entertaining as Lucia and is far more malignant (though she definitely has her moments of comeuppance that the reader is hard-pressed not to crow over), and I can't imagine her being any competition in a head-to-head match up with Lucia. Sadly, there is also no one to match Georgie Pillson's character from the first two stories. The plotting and maneuvering that consumes the folks in Riseholme proceeds at a more sluggish and less clever pace in Tilling - the residents are all a bit dull and don't even seem to do much that is UNinteresting. Diva Plaistock is the one exception here, and I find myself laughing at every description of her movements (mental and physical) throughout the town. Frankly, each page is more of a countdown to Mapp and Lucia (where I imagine the pace and hilarity will pick up considerably) rather than racing to see what antics these characters will get up to next...

  • Bob
    2019-02-15 21:52

    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 "Song of Solomon" and a mid-19th century Anglican hymnist whose name I have (regrettably) already forgotten.

  • GeraniumCat
    2019-02-07 21:09

    Another excellent reading! And unabridged, which made me very happy. Nadia May is a first-class narrator with a real feel for Benson's writing - her prissy Miss Mapp is sheer joy.I'm endlessly diverted by the way that Benson can make me loathe Miss Mapp one minute and feel for her the next, though I think I can say quite definitely that I would hate to know her in real life. And this book sets the scene ready for the arrival of the divine Lucia, soon to become Miss Mapp's arch-rival.Glorious...

  • Sylvester
    2019-01-31 18:11

    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!

  • Jim
    2019-02-20 17:15

    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.

  • Connie
    2019-02-18 15:08

    Read a second or third time in April 2016. Good reading for during chemo.

  • Allison Paton
    2019-01-23 22:21

    An absolutely wonderful read; if you like farce and fun, this is the author for you!