Mapp and Lucia is the centrepiece of E. F. Benson's series of Lucia novels - bringing together for the first time the eponymous middle-aged doyennes of polite 1930s society Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Emmeline Luca (Lucia to her friends).
Lucia, recently widowed, is the newcomer to the village of Tilling and eager to wrest the reins of social supremacy from the incumbant Miss Mapp and install herself as its benevolent dictator. In their polite acts of sabotage and ruthless jockeying for the position of cultural arbiter Mapp and Lucia tear up the conventions of drawing-room bridge evenings as their deadly weapons.
Things finally come to a head with Miss Mapp's audacious attempt to steal her rival's celebrated Lobster a la Riseholme. E.F. Benson's charming satrical bent turns the pretensions and snobberies of English village life into a vicious comedy.
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- Virginia Waldron