I have just finished the wonderful first three books in the Mapp and Lucia series - Queen Lucia, Miss Mapp and Lucia in London. I had heard Simon rave about them and Elaine too. I love domestic literature so, I felt I had to give them a go. Last time Borders had a discount voucher I grabbed the first omnibus - Lucia Rising - published by Penguin.
Initially I had trouble getting into the characters. But, now I realise you are not supposed to 'like' either Miss Mapp or Lucia, as people they are utterly unlikeable social climbers. Rather one is supposed to become completely absorbed in their tribulations and triumphs in small town politics and in Lucia in London…the greater London scene. I absolutely adored Lucia in Lucia in London. Indeed, it seems I have joined the so-called Luciaphiles.
I have spent the last two days of my train trips to work utterly engrossed, delighting in Lucia's initial downfall at Riseholm and subsequent restoration to her reightful throne as Queen of that small village. And may I say, Daisy Quantock - unfortunately deposed, by Lucia, of her hard won Riseholme crown - is my favourite character. I don't suppose there is a lot of point me adding another summary to the excellent ones that are already out in the blogoshere. So, instead, I will point you in the direction of other devoted fans and let their ravings speak for me: Simon and Elaine .
I was impressed to find that Alexander McCall Smith is also a fan of E.F. Benson, and like Elaine before me, was thrilled when I found a Mapp and Lucia reference in his latest book The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. For any AMS fans out there that haven't been following it I would urge you to rush over to The Telegraph website and start catching up on AMS's latest daily novel. There was a reference to Mapp and Lucia in last Friday's edition.