2007: 30. Miss Mapp

“Miss Elizabeth Mapp might have been forty, and she had taken advantage of this opportunity by being just a year or two older.  Her face was of high vivid color; and corrugated by chronic rage and curiosity; but these vivifying emotions had preserved her to an astonishing activity of mind and body…”

Miss Mapp, E.F. Benson

Miss Mapp is the third book in the Make Way for Lucia series, although Lucia herself does not make an appearance.  Rather this book introduces a new character, who is as much of super-strategist and a force of nature as La Lucia, Miss Elizabeth Mapp.  Miss Mapp lives in the seaside town of Tilling and rules society there with an iron fist.  She is not the same as Lucia - she is a spinster (though she has her eye on the two retired army bachelors in town) and she is rigid and old fashioned where Lucia is artistic and flowing.  However, like Lucia, Miss Mapp gets her way and runs ragged over the people in town, and leaves us laughing while she does.

If you find the machinations of the gossipy and prying inhabitants of a small town funny, you will find this book funny.  If you don’t find that funny, I worry about you, because this book is hoot.  The whole set piece where the two army men (Major Benjy and Captain Puffin) 1) drink alone in their homes at night, 2) start drinking together, 3) get so intoxicated and irritable that they end up challenging each other to a duel, 4) both independently chicken out and try to flee town (once they’ve sobered up), and 5) meet each other on the morning train, make up and then go golfing is ridiculous, and the fact that the whole town of Tilling knows something happened, but can’t figure out what, is the icing on the cake.  I enjoyed this immensely.

Recommended for: People with a sense of the ridiculous, especially as that applies to small towns; people who enjoy seeing pushy British spinsters get their comeuppance.

Date/Place Completed:  3/14/07, D.C.

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017