Last Saturday, September 6, Guy Fraser-Sampson, author of a sequel trilogy to EF Benson’s Mapp and Lucia stories was seen in The Rye Bookshop signing copies of his books.
Fraser-Sampson, a self-confessed lover of Benson’s fictional account of the Tilling (aka Rye) social scene since he was a child, was doing brisk business with a steady supply of fans arriving with books to be signed. However, not everyone was so keen; for a true Benson aficionado, writing a sequel at all is regarded with the gravest suspicion, but to finish a trilogy where the much loved characters are no more by the end, has, in some quarters, earned him the title of assassin.
The author himself, however, explains: “Time was moving on and the other option for the now-elderly Mapp and Lucia was perhaps to end their days in a home and I just thought that neither of them could bear the idea of that, so it seemed best that I should bring their lives to an end so that all their fans could remember them as they were”.
To her many devoted followers, however, Lucia is immortal and will forever remain the chatelaine of Mallards with her tea and bridge afternoons (and never short of a waspish piece of advice for her partner) or in the garden room with its piano sending out the notes of the Moonlight Sonata (the slow movement) or possibly, with the devoted, but forever-put-upon Georgie, hammering out un ‘po di Mozartino, as Lucia herself might have put it.
Photo: John Minter