Magazine article The Spectator

BOO K E N D S Tilling Tales

Magazine article The Spectator

BOO K E N D S Tilling Tales

Article excerpt

Several years ago, I listed as my literary heroes Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations and E. F. Benson's Lucia. The latter was the more damaging admission. Lucia is an egotist of monstrous proportions, ruthlessly selfish and staggering in her snobbery. But she is also a life force and, in her flawed but thrusting glory, profoundly lifeenhancing. Since her debut in 1920, Lucia has inspired her fair share of loathing - and a corresponding degree of ardour.

That ardour stimulated Tom Holt's two Lucia sequels in the midEighties, and now the second of Guy Fraser-Sampson's Lucia forays, Lucia on Holiday (Elliott & Thompson, £7.99).

Holt's Lucia novels worked by over-emphasising the role of Benson's minor characters, thereby lessening the pressure on the author where Lucia herself was concerned. …

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