Posted by: Lizzie Ross | April 2, 2010

Classic Friday: Lucia

Make Way for Lucia, EF Benson, 6 volumes, published 1920-1939.

I know several people who couldn’t get past page 5 of the first volume, but I simply adore Lucia and Georgie and Miss Mapp and all the other fiddly people in Tilling. If Jane Austen had been born 120 years later, she would have loved these books–very much the “3 or 4 families in a country village”, but with Rolls Royces and lots of weekends in town.

Lucia runs her friends and is jealous of anyone else’s discoveries, plotting to take them over. If she can’t succeed at that, she pretends not even to know they exist. But she is clever, loyal, mean only when provoked by meanness, and has a very long memory. And everyone recognizes how boring and quiet their lives are if Lucia goes away.

The first two volumes find Mrs. Emmeline Lucas (Lucia) in Riseholme, at a faux-Elizabethan cottage with her husband, dealing with yogis and Ouija boards and opera singers. The third volume is about Miss Elizabeth Mapp of Tilling, and then the remaining three volumes bring together these two formidable women (Lucia is now widowed) as they battle for power over their small Tilling crowd.

It’s all great fun and thoroughly silly; the last three volumes were serialized by London Weekend Television in the 1980s, and I will always now hear the voices of Nigel Hawthorne, Prunella Scales, and Geraldine McEwan as Georgie, Mapp and Lucia. I don’t mind that at all.

Queen Lucia, Lucia in London, Miss Mapp, Mapp and Lucia, The Worshipful Lucia, Trouble for Lucia


  1. […] all the books to which I return on a regular basis: Le Guin’s Earthsea series, Benson’s Lucia books, Eager’s odd-ball magical world, Montgomery’s famous red-headed […]

  2. […] of this and my other blogs may have read my earlier posts about Lucia and Georgie and Elizabeth Mapp — I’ve written often about my admiration, […]

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