A delicious entertainment for lovers of E. F. Benson: Mapp at Fifty by Hugh Ashton
Now, fans may or may not be receptive to this idea, nut nonetheless it seems like writers who love Benson - similar to writers who love Austen - love nothing better than having a go at continuing the literary journeys begun by their beloved favourite author.
When it comes to E. F. Benson, we have, over the years, seen authors like Tom Holt and Guy Fraser-Sampson write "new" Lucia books. The latest writer in this tradition is Hugh Ashton, famous for his Sherlock Holmes pastiche's. This little (and it is very little - no more than a medium-sized short story) book, Mapp at Fifty, explores Miss Mapp's birthday party and the disastrous things that attend it. We even get to meet her sister, who is quite a surprising character.
It says much about Hugh's talent that, a couple of times, I thought I was reading Benson himself!
This was great fun, and a nice distraction. You can read it in about an hour. It is, however, one for the hardcore E. F. Benson fans. I think that someone reading it without knowing the Lucia novels would be quite perplexed.