Books

Ghost Stories

E F Benson

Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones) selects and introduces chilling tales by the unsung master of the classic ghost story - E.F. Benson.

There's nothing sinister about a London bus. Nothing supernatural could occur on a busy Tube platform. There's nothing terrifying about a little caterpillar. And a telephone, what could be scary about that? Don't be frightened of the dark corners of your room. Don't be alarmed by a sudden, inexplicable chill. There's no need for a ticking clock, a limping footstep, or a knock at the door to start you trembling. There's nothing to be scared of. Nothing at all.

Queen Lucia

E F Benson (and others)

Barbara Jefford is the hilariously outrageous Lucia in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the novel by E.F. Benson. Lucia is the uncrowned queen of 1920s provincial society, the Everest of social climbers and the most delicious of snobs. In the pastoral serenity of the village of Riseholme, Lucia and her unforgettable cronies face up to an Indian guru, spiritualism and a cultural usurper.

E.F. Benson's wickedly witty satires on the rivalries of English middle-class life have elevated Lucia's extravagant exploits to cult comedy status.

Mapp and Lucia Omnibus

E F Benson

The arrival of the snobbish Mrs Emmeline Lucas (known as Lucia to her friends) in the small seaside town of Tilling causes waves as she threatens the queen bee of Tilling’s social circle, Miss Elizabeth Mapp. Against a backdrop of genteel tea parties and bridge evenings, a series of hilarious conflicts ensues between the two power-hungry women as they battle on the social stage to gain the ultimate place as the first lady of Tilling society.

This edition includes all three novels the brand new BBC adaptation is based on: Queen Lucia and Miss Mapp and Mapp and Lucia.

The Luck of the Vails

E F Benson

A VINTAGE MURDER MYSTERY
WH Auden, Nancy Mitford and Noel Coward were among his fans... But have you discovered E. F. Benson yet?

In a Holbein portrait above the grand old fireplace, Francis Vail, second baronet, brandishes a beautiful golden goblet, encrusted with pearls, rubies and emeralds. But this treasure, the Luck of the Vails, has since brought the family nothing but ruin and death.

On the eve of his twenty-first birthday, Harry Vail discovers the Luck hidden in the attic of his ancestral home, the family curse is reawoken, and a tale of madness, avarice and murder unfolds.

Murder mystery... Ghost story... Whodunnit. This is a classic detective story from the author of Mapp and Lucia. Crime fiction at its best.

The Blotting Book

E F Benson

A VINTAGE MURDER MYSTERY
WH Auden, Nancy Mitford and Noel Coward were among his fans... But have you discovered E. F. Benson yet?

Morris Assheton is in love and means to be married. But his happiness is spoilt when he discovers that someone has been whispering poisonous rumours about him to the girl’s father. The culprit is Mills, dastardly partner to the Assheton family's trusted lawyer. Morris vows revenge.

When Mills’ body is discovered, brutally beaten, the ugly quarrel comes to light and suspicion naturally falls on Morris. His innocence is debated in a tense courtroom, as an eager public and press look on.

Murder mystery... Courtroom drama. This is a classic whodunnit from the author of Mapp and Lucia. Crime fiction at its best.

Mapp And Lucia

E F Benson

At last they meet – the two most formidable ladies in English literature collide in genteel and deadly enmity. Lucia shakes the dust of Riseholme from her elegant feet and, with Georgie Pilson as devoted courtier, prepares to conquer the high society of Tilling. And Miss Mapp, her features corrugated by chronic rage and curiosity, can only prepare to defend her position as doyenne of Tilling. The town is split in an exciting and scintillating war of garden parties, bridge evenings and staggeringly simple little dinners. Mapp and Lucia is the fourth of the Lucia novels, a chronicle of life in two English country towns described with malicious delicacy and wit.

Mapp and Lucia

E F Benson

Look out for the new BBC adaptation starring Anna Chancellor, Miranda Richardson and Mark Gatiss!

Miss Elizabeth Mapp reigns supreme over the village of Tilling...until the advent of Mrs Emmeline Lucas, or 'Lucia' to her friends. No one could compete, surely, with Lucia's formidable armoury: her duchesses, her Italian, her financial speculations, her celebrated recipe for Lobster à la Riseholme. But Mapp will not relinquish her supremacy in local society so easily, and battle is joined between these two indomitable queens and their rather fickle allies.

Biography

Edward Frederic Benson was born on July 24, 1867 in Berkshire, the son of a future Archbishop of Canterbury, and one of six children. He studied at Kings College, Cambridge and at the British School of Archaeology in Athens. Benson's first book, Dodo, was published to popular acclaim in 1893 and was followed by over a hundred books, including novels, histories, biographies and ghost stories. In 1920 Benson became a full-time tenant of Lamb House in Rye, which had once been home to the novelist Henry James. Rye provided the setting for the Mapp and Lucia stories and their author served three terms as mayor of Rye in the late 1930s. E.F. Benson died on February 29, 1940.