Mapp and Lucia

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Mapp and Lucia is a collective name for a series of novels by E. F. Benson, and is also the name of a television series based on those novels.

The novels

The novels feature humorous incidents in the lives of (mainly) upper-middle-class British people in the 1920s and 1930s, vying for social prestige and "one-upmanship" in an atmosphere of extreme cultural snobbery. Several of them are set in the small seaside town of Tilling, closely based on Rye, East Sussex, where Benson lived for a number of years and (like Lucia) served as mayor. Lucia previously lived at Riseholme, based on Broadway, Worcestershire, from where she brought to Tilling her celebrated recipe for Lobster à la Riseholme.

The books provide deep insights into how key members of a small, close-knit community interact with each other. Although this may not sound very promising material for modern-day readers, the books are very funny and engage one's keen interest to see how the two main protagonists—the elegant and sophisticated Lucia and the malicious and frumpy Miss Mapp—score off each other and extricate themselves from social disasters.

"Mallards," the home of Miss Mapp - and subsequently Lucia - was based on Lamb House in Rye. The house had previously been lived in by Henry James and had a garden room overlooking the street. (Unfortunately a German bomb destroyed the Garden Room in World War II. The rest of the house is now a National Trust property.)

The novels, in...
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