This book was one of my purchases on my recent foray into England, I bought this one from the Amnesty International bookshop in Great Malvern, I couldn’t resist it as it’s a book of short stories which includes a Miss Mapp story.
E.F. Benson wrote a lot of short stories which were published in various magazines and he tailored the stories to appeal to the various publications. They are divided into seven categories: Crank Stories, Society Stories, Cruel Stories, Odd Stories, Dodo Stories, Spook Stories and The Diversions of Amy Bondham.
I’m a big fan of the Mapp and Lucia books but I hadn’t read anything else by Benson but I will be on the look-out for more of his books now as I did enjoy these short stories, even the Spook ones which is what he called his ghost stories. The character of Lucia is just beginning to be formed but if you enjoy the Mapp and Lucia books you’ll want to get your hands on these.
I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time in East Sussex over the years as I had an aunt who lived there but for some reason I never got around to visiting Rye. Mind you, way back then I hadn’t read E.F. Benson‘s Mapp and Lucia books, but Lisa May at TBR 313 has been discussing E.F. Benson’s writing and the upshot is that I’m adding Rye to my list of places to visit. Although Benson’s fictional town is called Tilling, it was based on Rye where he was the town mayor for years.
I had a wee look on You Tube to see if there were any excerpts from the Mapp and Lucia TV series – and there were but what I really liked was this Thascales ‘album’ of a visit to Rye which s/he has uploaded onto You Tube. The TV series was filmed in Rye and the buildings are all very recognisable.
If you like a twee 1930s setting and a bit of a laugh then you’ll enjoy the series, I wonder if it’s available on Netflix. Geraldine McEwan as Lucia in particular has lovely outfits to wear, it’s a feast for the eyes if you like vintage clothes.
I saw Mapp and Lucia on T.V. and loved it, so I ended up getting the books and was given the DVD. To me everything is just perfect about it. I can’t imagine anyone other than Geraldine McEwan as the character of Lucia and Nigel Hawthorne is Georgie to a T. I think they must have had a whale of a time whilst filming it as Geraldine and Nigel ‘ham it up’ like mad.
Prunella Scales is wonderful as the sour and sarcastic Miss Mapp, (she seems to have cornered the market on those characteristics.) Mapp and Lucia are deadly rivals in a small village in England in 1930, each of them vying to be top dog in their community. This results in lots of comedic situations which amount to lovely ‘comfort viewing.’
The wardrobe department pulled out all the stops, especially with Lucia’s costumes, resulting in a feast for the eyes if you are into vintage clothes and accessories. Just sumptuous.
So when I came to reading the books I was really pleased to discover that they had been so well adapted and everything was as it should be.
Apparently E.F. Benson was the mayor of his town, I think it was Rye in Sussex. He must have based his characters on close observation of the locals,which probably made him popular with the majority of the population.
Anyway, if you feel in need of a laugh, some comfort reading or just want to drool over some beautiful handbags, hats, clothes and jewellery – then I recommend you should try these books and DVDs.