Miss Mapp - E.F. Benson

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 Importance 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.”


Original post: