01 August 2019

Mrs. 'Arris: Live and Let Live!

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament
Drawings by Gioia Fiammenghi
Paul Gallico
Garden City, 1965
152 pages

I am continuing my reading of the Mrs. 'Arris series with this, the third of the four books. This time the story is a bit different as our intrepid London char does not visit a foreign country. Her other exploits were in Paris, New York, and Moscow. Instead she gets elected as a Member of Parliament with the help of a coterie of London chauffeurs, some influential friends from the first two books, and a lot of backroom politicking that misfires.

Parliament is a tougher nut to crack than her former adversaries, however.

Flypaper, that's what politics was, Mrs. Harris thought. You'd hardly got one foot clear when the other one was stuck.

Most of the story concerns the politics of a 1950s British parliamentary election. Parts of it were a bit confusing to this American; the titles and committee names and procedures were very different from what we're used to here. But I got the gist of the political machinations. I don't think it's giving away any surprises to say that she does not manage to right the world of 1950s London. But there is a very nice ending as her friends rally to her support.

Once again this is a charming and sweet book where the plot is not particularly realistic, but the characters are wonderful. I love Mrs. 'Arris for her principles, her devotion to her friends, and her belief that she can make things better in the world. A good read for when the world is too much with us.


The versions published in the UK have slightly different titles and don't use the abbreviated version of her last name. Actually in the books she is always called Mrs. Harris, but the US publishers saw fit to drop her Hs, as does Mrs. 'Arris herself in her cockney accent. She will forever be Mrs. 'Arris to me, too. Also note that British English does not use a period/full stop after "Mrs" or "Mr".

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris - Flowers for Mrs Harris
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York - Mrs Harris Goes to New York
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament - Mrs Harris MP
Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow -  Mrs Harris Goes to Moscow


"Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris"

"Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow"

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