Book review: Mapp and Lucia

Mapp and Lucia begins with the news that Mrs Lucas is in mourning for the death of Mr Lucas and has withdrawn from society in Riseholme. In her place, Daisy has taken over and will have the lead role of Queen Elizabeth in the summer fete. Lucia decides her only option is to be away at that time and rents Miss Mapp’s house in Tilling. Inevitably, the two formidable women clash in the confines of Tilling.

Mapp and Lucia is a gentle comedy, with the two women plotting how they can best snub one another whilst appearing to remain incredibly polite. Much like the Cold War, the two protagonists and the super powers, with everyone else relegated to the role of pawns as open warfare is just about avoided. Lucia seems to get the better of the exchanges, but the novel finishes with Miss Mapp landing a blow of her own. The effort that they go to in their constant game of one-upmanship means that there is not a dull moment.

Rating (out of 5): *****

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