It is mid-summer in Tilling and Miss Elizabeth Mapp, the town's resident schemer and woman of great self-importance, is anticipating a special guest. As is the accepted tradition in Tilling, Mapp is leasing her beautiful Queen Anne House to Mrs Emmeline Lucas (known to her friends as Lucia) for the summer months.
But on this occasion Mapp has bitten off more than she can chew. Lucia is the resident queen of her home town; vain, selfish, imperious and, in short, a glorious snob. Recently widowed, she sees Tilling as the perfect place to end her grieving and reintegrate herself into society, ably assisted by her devoted best friend Georgie Pillson.
Whilst Mapp hopes to 'run' Lucia and mete her out to her fellow Tillingites, Lucia is her own woman, who can charms and bully her own way into their lives. The residents of Tilling can only watch as Mapp pits herself Lucia in an ever-spiralling warfare which spans garden produce, bridge and a fund-raising fete. Tilling cannot possible contain these two women - let battle commence and the worst woman win!