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Publisher's Summary

Miss Elizabeth Mapp, magnificent grande dame and heiress, is always on the lookout lest her neighbors fall outside the bounds of perfect, exemplary manners. But her tightly controlled world is soon beset on all sides by interlopers, first in the disturbingly masculine form of two very different retired army officers, both of whom are anything but retiring in their conflicting aims upon her heart. Second, there appears the elegant, insidiously evil Contessa possessed of dazzling charm and diabolical designs.
(P)2001 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"Nadia May does a hilarious Miss Mapp, the small-minded small-town heiress of a certain age who leads an absolutely full life spying on and attempting to best her neighbors." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

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By G. Griffin on 04-26-05

Classic British Turn of the Century Comedy

The Lucia series by Benson is as fresh as it was 100 years ago. This is broad comedy, with a lot of absurdity. This is one of a six book series (as originally written) and introduces Miss Mapp, who is a wholly riduculous and mostly unlikeable character. But very, very funny; as we can all still some of oursevelves (and others) in this comdedy. The series was very daring for its time with a major gay character (not in this book, but all of the others), and a lesbian--but never any sex.

Nadia May is one of the better British readers, although her women (not surprisingly) are quite a bit better than her men. But in this series of books, only the women really matter. The men are just foiils for the plotting, backstabbing, and--when it all comes home to roost--the hilarious, slow-train-wreck-of-an-exposure.

This is not a romance though.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

By Die Falknerin on 11-18-12

Benson at his satirical best

Benson's inimitable gift for satire shines in this classic. Yes, obviously it is very much a story of its time: that is the whole point. As others have said, this is certainly not a romance: it is satire in the finest British tradition. Sometimes darkly comic, sometimes farcical, it plays up the manners, customs, and social-climbing of a small society of seaside Edwardians. If you're not interested in reading that sort of thing, look elsewhere. But I daresay if you enjoy Wilde and Saki, you will adore Benson and long for more!

The narration is superb. From the brusque (and sometimes inebriated) exchanges of the military men to the catty competition of Elizabeth Mapp and "Diva Darling" Plaistow, the false brogue of the Reverend, and the flirtatious Contessa, Nadia May brings each character to life. Somehow you feel you reallly know them.

Of course I recommend you continue with the "Mapp and Lucia" series if you enjoy this book. And don't neglect Benson's supernatural short fiction: most of the stories are excellent entertainments for Hallowe'en and dark winter nights.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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By Philip on 04-22-10

and escapist delight

It would be difficult to say quite what it is about this audiobook that is so mesmerically wonderful. i've listened to it repeatedly. Familiarity just makes it more comforting- like a warm blanket.

It's a picture of a perfect world; a group of people living in a beautiful little town 'Tilling' (Rye really, as everyone knows, in Sussex) All the charecters have enough money to live comfortably, and servants to do the hard work so they have all day to plot against each other- living lives of constant point-scoring, petty meanness and one-up-manship.

We're still waiting for Blackstone Audio and Audible to bring us the sequels...

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

By David on 01-17-15


If you haven't read, or listened, to these before, you're in for a treat. There was an excellent TV adaptation at Christmas, 2014, but the great pleasure of these books, as with PG Wodehouse is not what happens (not much does), but the fantastically witty descriptions and dialogue. A TV adaptation can capture the dialogue, but not the language used for the descriptions.This particular reading (and Queen Lucia, another in the series) is performed by Nadia May, sometimes known by her real name of Wanda McCaddon, who captures it brilliantly. I would urge (a) you to listen to this, and to Queen Lucia, and (b) the publishers to commission, forthwith, unabridged versions of the rest of the Mapp & Lucia series

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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By Fiona Thurn on 09-15-15

Thoroughly awful people, and excellent fun

Miss Mapp is an ill natured woman, beautifully drawn by E. F. Benson, and perfectly read by Nadia May. I'm wishing May had recorded all the Mapp and Lucia books. She's the best at depicting women and men equally well. A very entertaining listen!

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