100 books like Miss Mapp

By E.F. Benson,

Here are 100 books that Miss Mapp fans have personally recommended if you like Miss Mapp. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dissolution

Maurice Holloway Author Of Steal a Diamond

From my list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for writing, and whenever I can, I try to help new writers improve their expertise so that one day they’ll complete their first book. My first book, born from a few-hundred-word short story at my writing group, turned into a three-book thriller series called FAVOURS. Since then, I’ve branched out by publishing a rom/com, a humorous ghost story as well as a standalone thriller. Agatha Christie published her first book as the result of a dare, which proves you can do it if you really want to.

Maurice's book list on detective books with the most memorable protagonist

Maurice Holloway Why did Maurice love this book?

CJ Sansom, a renowned historian, released this first fiction novel to huge acclaim. I was fascinated to find the investigator was a London lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII. It ticked all the boxes: history, a juicy murder, crime, and mystery. I was not disappointed. In my own writing, I endeavour to make my characters individual and memorable and, therefore, look for that in books I read.

The protagonist, lawyer Matthew Shardlake, has the brain, persistence, and vision of a Holmes or Poirot in uncovering the clues and is admired by all for his ability to win cases. Despite this, one thing continually erodes his confidence: he is a hunchback. Not restricted by twenty-first-century political correctness, his enemies take delight in reminding him of this. I loved the way the author handled that.

I enjoyed the detective story in an entirely different setting. It is a magnificent first book;…

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Dissolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger - the highest honor in British crime writing

From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series

Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared vicar general, summons…


Book cover of The Best of Saki

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

A wonderful collection of outrageous, yet drily witty, short stories by the mordant satirist Saki (aka H.H. Munro tragically killed in WW1 – a great loss to literature). The milieux may be “cosy”, in that the setting is upper-class England of the early twentieth century, but the style is cuttingly astringent (darker than Wodehouse), yet the situations farcical. To be enjoyed with a generous libation to hand – though a malt whisky rather than a softer gin might be appropriate. A bonus to this edition is the excellent introduction by the late and great Graham Greene.

By Hector Hugh Munro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best of Saki as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best of Saki is a collection of short stories by the famed 20th century writer Hector Hugh Munro. Saki is the pen name that Munro wrote his short stories under.
Saki was a misogynist, anti-semite, and reactionary, who also did not take himself too seriously. His stories, “true enough to be interesting and not true enough to be tiresome”, were considered ideal for reading. Saki was an Edwardian writer of sharply satirical, cynical short stories set in the milieu of well to do upper class Edwardian England. Born in1870, he started writing around the turn of century and died…


Book cover of Mortification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Probably four of my writers would not have suffered the mortification described here, but the scenarios certainly resonated with this pen-pusher!

Seventy contemporary authors – novelists, poets, biographers – describe in wincing detail the embarrassment they had sometimes felt in the course of promotional appearances: book signings, talks, interviews, etc. Their anecdotes are at once funny and cringingly painful. Distinguished names as diverse as Margaret Attwood, Val McDermid, Michael Holroyd, Edna O’Brian, Colm Tóibín, Willian Boyd, poets Thom Gunn and Simon Armitage, and a host of other literary heroes, bravely and vividly recount their worst moments under the public gaze. In some ways the humorous revelations are reassuring – evidently the eminent can be as vulnerable as the lesser known. But in reading this book, comradely laughter is tinged with a frisson of fear!

By Robin Robertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mortification as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of stories from some of the world’s greatest writers about their own public humiliation.

Humiliation is not, of course, unique to writers. However, the world of letters does seem to offer a near-perfect micro-climate for embarrassment and shame. There is something about the conjunction of high-mindedness and low income that is inherently comic; something about the very idea of deeply private thoughts – carefully worked and honed into art over the years – being presented to a public audience of dubious strangers that strays perilously close to tragedy.

Here, in over eighty contributions, are stories about the writer’s…


Book cover of Why I Write

Suzette A. Hill Author Of Shadow Over Southwold

From my list on making one laugh or ponder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Privately and professionally, I've always been addicted to literature and history and stirred by the experiences that these studies reveal. Yet as a novelist (retired from college lecturing) I instinctively assume the comic or satirical mode. Whereas in analysing the poetry of perhaps T.S. Eliot, I'm totally serious, when creating a story I start to giggle. Psychiatrists might label this a defence mechanism – but I suspect it's the result of formative years spent reading social satirists such as Huxley, Greene, Wodehouse, and Waugh. While certainly no imitator, I feel that this type of literature has become insidiously bred in the bone – hence my listed choices being socially directed and often comic or acerbic. 

Suzette's book list on making one laugh or ponder

Suzette A. Hill Why did Suzette love this book?

Other than the odd dry chuckle, no major laughs here – but you certainly ponder. Slim and compact, this selection of four of Orwell’s most compelling essays is a fitting format for the prose within. Typically Orwellian, no word is wasted, none ill-used; statements are incisive, ideas sharply defined, and imagery spare yet vivid. Clarity is the keynote; probing entertainment the effect. The topics – his own literary motivation, the condition of twentieth-century England, a biting attack on sloppy verbiage and on rhetoric for political fudge, the stark yet witty vignette of a public hanging – all are lucid and provocative. His comments are as relevant today as they were in the 1940s. George Orwell and Graham Greene: what masterly writers!

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why I Write as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A selection of George Orwell's politically charged essays on language and writing that give context to his dystopian classic, 1984

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves-and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives-and destroyed them.

Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and…


Book cover of Mapp and Lucia

Alice McVeigh Author Of Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

From my list on for readers who like a varied book diet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been “big-five-published” in contemporary fiction, Indie-published in speculative thrillers and I – only last year – rejected several publishers in favour of self-publishing books Jane Austen herself might have loved. A Jane Austen fanatic from an early age, I know most of the novels by heart, and appear to have succeeded (to some extent) in understanding her style. My Susan – a unique imagining of Austen’s Lady Susan as a young girl – is both award-winning and bestselling and my Harriet – an imaginative “take” on Austen’s Emma, has just been selected as "Editor's Pick - outstanding" on Publishers Weekly.   

Alice's book list on for readers who like a varied book diet

Alice McVeigh Why did Alice love this book?

I recommend Mapp and Lucia, first, because E.F. Benson is a hugely underrated humourist, and secondly, because there is a fundamental connection between his Lucia books and Austen’s. The societies are not dissimilar… the styles are both effortless. I recommend any lover of Austen to check out the Lucia books!

By E.F. Benson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mapp and Lucia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Mapp and Lucia" is the centrepiece of E.F. Benson's series of Lucia novels - bringing together for the first time the eponymous middle-aged doyennes of polite 1930s society Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Emmeline Luca (Lucas to her friends). Lucia, recently widowed, is the newcomer to the village of Tilling and eager to wrest the reins of social supremacy from the incumbant Miss Mapp and install herself as its benevolent dictator. In their polite acts of sabotage and ruthless jockeying for the position of cultural arbiter Mapp and Lucia tear up the conventions of drawing-room bridge evenings as their deadly weapons.…


Book cover of The World Unseen

Kay Acker Author Of Leaving's Not the Only Way to Go

From my list on sapphic about finding happiness in hard times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe deeply that, as messy and painful as life is, there is always joy, and usually humor, to be found. The book I wrote, Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go, pulls from some of the painful experiences I’ve had, and I often find myself following my description of the book, about two women who meet in a grief group, with “but it’s not a downer!” It’s true, because Leaving is also inspired by all the joy and connections I’ve made for myself, even in the midst of loss. I learned how to balance the two sides of life through books like the ones on this list. 

Kay's book list on sapphic about finding happiness in hard times

Kay Acker Why did Kay love this book?

Another classic lesbian novel.

Two Asian women living in South Africa in the 1950s meet and take hold of a beautiful opportunity to care for each other, despite both personal struggles and the broader challenges of trying to build a life during Apartheid.

There is tragedy and loss, and also hope and defiance; the two of them have little victories, both personal and political, that build toward a promising future, even if they haven’t quite made it there yet.

By Shamim Sarif,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Unseen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1950's South Africa, a free-spirited café owner falls for a young wife and mother. Their unexpected attraction pushes them to question the cruel rules of a world that divides white from black and women from men, but a world that might just allow an unexpected love to survive.


Book cover of Looking Back

Jessica Russell Author Of Hot Winter Sun

From my list on character-driven historical suspense with romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first experience with historical fiction was reading The Witch from the Sea by that iconic author, Victoria Holt. This sparked a 40-year-long love affair with that genre that’s still burning intensely. I’ve been immersed in such fiction for a lifetime and have read the works of virtually every great author in this genre. I started my own series in 2020 because I feared this type of no-fluff fiction was becoming obsolete. There were 17th Century English characters making noise in my head so I used my creative writing background to bring them to life on the pages of my books, under the pen name Jessica Russell. 

Jessica's book list on character-driven historical suspense with romance

Jessica Russell Why did Jessica love this book?

I was so tired of books that follow a formula with every author trying to imitate whoever had a bestseller that week when I picked this up. Nothing was what I expected! This was a totally character-driven book and so realistic with regard to how people actually behave and feel instead of contrived dialogue and predictable reactions. I could clearly visualize each and every person in this novel and the character development was superb. On top of that, the plot just didn’t quit! You will never believe the ending. 

By Belva Plain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Looking Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Belva Plain goes to the heart of what it means to be a woman, a wife, and a friend, in her powerful new novel—a story of love and betrayal that measures the limits of loyalty, friendship, and forgiveness.

They met at school and have been inseparable ever since: Cecile, confident, elegant daughter of privilege; Norma, extraordinarily gifted and sadly troubled; and beautiful, ambitious Amanda, determined to rise above her humble southern beginnings. Two are married. One despairs of ever finding love. Three women. Leading their busy adult lives. Yet first and always: friends.

Then something…


Book cover of Ain't She Sweet?

Katherine Grace Author Of Just a Fling

From my list on second-chance romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading romance novels since I was way too young to be reading romances and I love the romance genre. I’m a fan of many tropes, but second-chance romance is one of my favorites and it is the main trope in my debut novel, Just a Fling. When I read romance, I want to read stories that make my heart break and then stitch it back together. Second-chance romances do that because they capture the essence of hope and forgiveness. They give readers the opportunity to experience the beauty and power of forgiveness and to believe in the transformative power of love.

Katherine's book list on second-chance romance

Katherine Grace Why did Katherine love this book?

Ain't She Sweet is my favorite second-chance romance. It will make you laugh, cry, and fall in love all over again.

It's about Sugar Beth Carey, the ultimate mean girl, who returns to her hometown and tries to make amends for all the drama she caused in the past. And of course, there's a handsome man from her past, Colin Byrne, who she just can't resist.

With hilarious banter, relatable characters, and steamy scenes, Ain't She Sweet is a must-read for romance junkies.

By Susan Elizabeth Phillips,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ain't She Sweet? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In high school Sugar Carey had reigned supreme. She alone had decided what or who was cool. Her spiral perm had been the perm against which all others were measured, and her opinion on which boys were acceptable to date the only one that counted. A beautiful, blonde - if not always benevolent - dictator, she had a reputation for being the wild child of Parrish, Mississippi, the girl most likely to set the world on fire, and leave a trail of destruction in her wake. When she left home she swore she'd never return. Only now, fifteen years and…


Book cover of Valley of the Dolls

Stephen Rebello Author Of Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!: Deep Inside Valley of the Dolls, the Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time

From my list on the down-and-dirtiest showbusiness Romans à clef.

Why am I passionate about this?

A Southern California-based author and screenwriter whose adventures in and around the film business have led to hundreds of feature stories for such magazines as Vibe, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, American Film, Smithsonian, and Movieline. My books include three dedicated to Disney animated classics and a volume on the art of American movie posters. The lovingly satirical book Bad Movies We Love, co-written with Edward Margulies, inspired a Turner Network movie marathon series. My next non-fiction book will be published in 2024.

Stephen's book list on the down-and-dirtiest showbusiness Romans à clef

Stephen Rebello Why did Stephen love this book?

Newbie novelist Jacqueline Susann created an iconic all-time bestseller with her tale of three young glamazons who vault to the show business heights, only to tumble into a pit of addictions, poor choices in men, and delightfully overripe dialogue. Susann made her sweeping, sexy soap opera shenanigans even more irresistible by patterning her characters on such 20th-century headline-makers as Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Ethel Merman, and the Kennedys. Said publicity-savvy Susann, “They can keep calling it that ‘roman à clef'. It’ll only make my books sell.” They did. It did. Although the sanitized and critically bashed 1967 movie version toned down the à clef elements, it became a box-office smash that has gone on to become enshrined as a kitsch classic.

By Jacqueline Susann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Valley of the Dolls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before Jackie Collins, Candace Bushnell and Lena Dunham, Jacqueline Susann held the world rapt with her tales of the private passions of Hollywood starlets, high-powered industrialists and the jet-set.

Valley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published, fifty years ago. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often sited as the bestselling novel of all time.

Dolls - red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn't matter, as long as the pill bottle is…


Book cover of Someone Like You

Helen McKenna Author Of The Beach House

From my list on an ensemble cast of characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong bookworm, I have always loved curling up with a book, especially one that takes me on an emotional journey through the characters within. I especially love stories with an ensemble cast of characters linked through one common thread and always knew my first novel would be of this format. A fascination with the stories that lie beneath the surface of everyday life keeps me constantly inspired to create new characters that can bring comfort and familiarity to readers but still explore important life lessons in a gentle way.

Helen's book list on an ensemble cast of characters

Helen McKenna Why did Helen love this book?

I love the way this book captures holiday friendships. It taught me that holidaying alone does not have to be a negative experience and, indeed, can make you much more open to forming connections with people you may otherwise not interact with. Someone Like You is not all sunshine and roses but left me feeling content and with a real connection to the three-dimensional characters within.

By Cathy Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someone Like You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cathy Kelly has enjoyed unprecedented success in the UK and her native Ireland. Building on the popularity of her "Dear Cathy" advice column, Kelly brings to her fiction a warmth and humor that speaks to women everywhere.

Hannah, Emma, and Leonie, three women at critical turning points in their lives, meet on holiday and find themselves changing in unexpected ways. Hannah, young, beautiful and reeling from the betrayal of a lover, decides to throw herself into her career and embrace the single life. Emma, married for two years and hoping to start a family, constantly questions her ability to be…


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