Luciaphiles Wanted

“That was her real métier, to render the trivialities of life intense for others. But how her schemes for the good of Tilling bored him!”

“She found herself entangled in the web she herself had woven, and never had any a spider known to natural history so completely encircled itself.” (Trouble for Lucia, E.F. Benson)

Lucia PictureI have never seen the Lucia chronicles on a recommended booklist, heard about them in general conversation, or read a post about them – I simply judged the book by its simple, elegant cover and deemed it a worthy read. But here are the questions: how have I lived this much of a reading life without having heard of Lucia, how many other delicious books have I missed, and, how am I ever going to find out about them?

In the spirit of Lucia, upon finishing her book I gave a big, dramatic sigh, brushed away a semi-imagined tear, and moved on to the next thing. But, I have to say, the last few weeks without her have been a little dull. She motivated me, like her sometimes-resistant minions of Riesholm and Tilling, and lent an indifferent day an air of intrigue. Thus comes into play the title of this post – Luciaphiles wanted – which of you out there has read this lovely, big series and also misses Lucia? Let us all talk about her behind her back, as everyone did, and throw a hightum party to keep her alive.

Lucia doesn’t remind me of anything else, and requires too great an array of beverages to document, so I just want to note that Lucia must be read in the correct order – not all willy-nilly like a cheap episodic romance series. Here is the proper order: Queen Lucia, Lucia in London, Miss Mapp, The Male Impersonator, Mapp and Lucia, The Worshipful Lucia, and Trouble for Lucia. If you can, get them all in one volume.


6 thoughts on “Luciaphiles Wanted

  1. It’s been so many years since I read the Lucia series that I must read them again before I can engage in spirited discussion of her world. However, I will mention some of the other delicious books you may have missed. Your love of Lucia’s world makes me want to press upon you the Betsy-Tacy series. Yes, it is written for children and young ladies–but it’s a wonderful collection of characters whose simple schemes and misadventures make you want to have onion sandwiches on Sunday night, too.

    Also, if you haven’t read any Georgette Heyer yet, I predict you will greatly enjoy her books. Oh, and try The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax by Dorothy Gilman–the first in a very fun series.

    • Thanks for the recommended further reading – it may take me a while to get to them, but you can be assured that they are on my ‘must read’ list. Also – just so you know – you were my 100th comment!

  2. I have been a Luciaphile since the mid-80s when the series was on a NYC PBS station. I immediately bought Benson’s book and have re-read them every year since then. The books finally wore out this year so I bought replacements on-line from Penguin UK.

    I can’t live without knowing Lucia et al. are there on the bookshelf and also in my Kindle waiting for me. When I need them, they are there and I can dip back into that lovely, gentle, acerbic world, chuckle with delight, drink my tea and toasted crumpets. (My local Kroger grocery store actually carries crumpets!)

    I have never met any other Luciaphiles face-to-face . . . I think we may be a very rare breed indeed! I tell people about the books and describe her wonderful antics, but most people are dull of mind and just want pulp fiction.

    And yes, to the first poster, the books must be read in order — it makes all the difference. Any time I find an author I haven’t read, I buy all the books and read them in order. With Lucia, it is essential.

    I’ve just finished re-reading all of Colin Dexter’s books, and plan to start re-reading Ngaio Marsh’s books. But E.F. Benson’s Lucia series are my favorites!

    Karen North-Hurst

    • I have just begun to watch Mapp and Lucia, having found them on Netflix Streaming. I am impressed by how true to the books they remain; I expected to have to cringe when they left out important social maneuvers, but so far I has been purely a treat. I have to admit, I imagined that Lucia would be a brunette, but all in all I think the actress does an excellent job of conveying the drama of Lucia’s personality.

      Fortunately, I have just married into a whole family of Luciaphiles, so I have in fact met some of them face-to-face. Yet, I think it a terrible shame that so few people have read or heard about the series. I am doing my best to convert all of my friends and hope to press her upon enough people to have a po’ de mu or a dinner party with lobser a la’ Risholme. Delicious.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Pingback: The Sweet Dove Died | Book Lion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s