Mapp and Lucia Series by E.F.Benson

This is one series which never fails to cheer me up. Within just a page I am lost in Tilling, a small seaside town in England, where most of the action is centred. The books revolve around the everyday lives of the people of this charming town. The underlying theme in almost all these books is the battle for supremacy waged between Lucia, a widow and a new arrival in Tilling and Miss Mapp, a spinster and one of the town’s oldest residents. The lengths they go to defeat the other, the absolutely low levels to which they stoop make for some lovely comic reading. The rest of the characters in the books are good enough to have books written on themselves. There is Diva Plaistow, a good-natured busybody who is alternately Miss Mapp’s closest friend and one of her worst rivals. There is Major Benjy, a gallant and boastful soldier who saw service in India. His house is full of old and dusty tiger skins which he allegedly killed himself. Miss Mapp uses one of this tiger skins to trim her skirt after she makes him marry her and becomes Mrs Mapp-Flint. There is Georgie Pillson, effeminate, well dressed and Lucia’s devoted friend and subsequent husband. There is the Padre and his wife, the mouse. And there is Irene Plaistow who always calls Miss Mapp ‘Mapp’ and of whom Miss Mapp is mortally afraid. This series should definitely appear on the ‘to be read list’ of any self respecting bookworm!

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