Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lucia Redux!

Author Guy Fraser-Sampson approached me with the news that he has written a new book in a very popular old series--the Mapp and Lucia series by E.F. Benson. He is reviving Lucia, the beloved fictional social leader of the small English town of Riseholme, and her friend Miss Mapp, from the town of Tilling, written about by author E.F. Benson in the 1920s and 30s. I read some of the books in this series long ago--Queen Lucia and Lucia in London--and loved their wonderful, eccentric English atmosphere.

The new book, published by Troubadour, and endorsed by E.F. Benson's estate, has just been released. Author Fraser-Sampson says that the new Mapp and Lucia book will be called Major Benjy, and it "fills in the chronological gap between Miss Mapp and Mapp and Lucia, that is to say that it is set in the earlier part of the summer that Lucia and Georgie first arrive in Tilling."

I'm sure Benson has been compared to Wodehouse, and certainly, like Wodehouse, he created memorable, charmingly idiosyncratic characters. I'm glad Fraser-Sampson has been able to continue the series, and look forward to reading his offering.

Here is a quote from Queen Lucia that gives a humorous glimpse into the main character:
Though [Lucia was] essentially autocratic, her subjects were allowed and even encouraged to develop their own minds on their own lines, provided always that those lines met at the junction where she was stationmaster.
The Troubador site has more information about the book (and a place to buy it), and here is a link to the author's website. He also has a literary blog!


Anonymous said...

Somehow I've missed out on the Benson books and definitely ought to do something about that. I suppose they would be no point in reading this without having first read the original, so off to the library site - again!

litlove said...

I adored all the Mapp and Lucia books but have never read any of the sequels for fear of scenting inauthenticity. I've heard about this one, though, and it's quite tempting to give it a go. I do love traditional comic novels in this style.

Gentle Reader said...

table talk--definitely start with the original!

litlove--I so enjoyed the Mapp and Lucia books I read years ago. I should have known there was a lot of fan fiction out there--but I didn't! I'm hoping this has an authentic feel. I will let you know what I think!

Bookfool said...

Provided those lines met at a junction and she was the stationmaster -- that sounds like me (yeah, a minor control freak). What a great line! I've never heard of this author, but I'll have to look for him.

Gentle Reader said...

bookfool--e.f. benson was one of those great English humorists that wrote about small-town English life and all its eccentricities. I read his books when I was in my teens and twenties, and really enjoyed them. I'll have to get back to them at some point!

Booklogged said...

Sounds fun. Never heard of the Benson books, but this may be a good introduction.

Gentle Reader said...

booklogged--I might try and read the series in order, so I think Queen Lucia is first. But they are funny books, worth reading!