Free Classic: Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson

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Miss Mapp is a one of a series of charming and humorous British novels by E.F. Benson. It was published in 1922.

Miss Elizabeth Mapp might have been forty . . . Anger and the gravest suspicions about everybody had kept her young and on the boil. She sat, on this hot July morning, like a large bird of prey at the very convenient window of her garden-room, the ample bow of which formed a strategical point of high value.

But she does not just watch, she plots

Of the two, Major Flint, without doubt, was the more attractive to the feminine sense; for years Miss Mapp had tried to cajole him into marrying her, and had not nearly finished yet. With his record of adventure, with the romantic reek of India (and camphor) in the tiger-skin of the rugs that strewed his hall and surged like a rising tide up the wall, with his haughty and gallant manner, with his loud pshawings and sniffs at “nonsense and balderdash,” his thumpings on the table to emphasize an argument, with his wound and his prodigious swipes at golf, his intolerance of any who believed in ghosts, microbes or vegetarianism, there was something dashing and risky about him . . .

Let’s turn to one of those useful Amazon Reader Reviewers who titles this review, “Hilarious fun in a small English Village,” —

“Benson has written a village with a range of gorgeous characters – from Diva who is Miss Mapp’s great rival, to Irene the local artist who keeps embarrassing Miss Mapp with her prosaic pronouncements. Then there is the local Vicar who talks in a combination of Shakespearian English and Burnsian dialect. There is also Mrs Poppit who is an up and coming social climber (hardly worthy of Miss Mapp’s notice) and the novel begins with Miss Mapps machinations to the Poppitt Bridge party.

Village life you see seems to run around Bridge parties. In this petty world of card games there is a great deal of opportunity to expose one another’s weaknesses and Miss Mapp, in order to be the center of village life in Tilling finds no object too petty to exploit. This is a novel of small things made into huge issues because of the smallness of the village.”

It sounds quite nice. Sometimes the best novels are about small things.

Click here to get your free copy of Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson >>>

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