Monday, April 20, 2009

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament by Paul Gallico

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament is the next in the series of four books following the adventures of London char woman, Ada Harris and her friend, Mrs. Butterfield. This novel picks up where the previous one, Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York, left off. Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Butterfield have returned to their simple quiet life in the London suburbs where they spend their days cleaning and cooking for the wealthy and the lonely and their evenings relaxing and visiting with each other and on Thursdays, with their friend John Bayswater, for "tea and telly time."

While watching a television show on one such Thursday evening, Mrs. Harris becomes rankled over the wishy-washy behavior of a certain member of Parliament and gives a speech on "Live and Let Live" -- detailing how she believes things should be handled and would be handled if the right person or people were elected to Parliament. It is when she later repeats this little speech to a wealthy and influential client (while cleaning his house) that an idea begins to form and before she realizes -- Mrs. Ada Harris has been invited to run for a seat in the House of Commons. It is all very exciting and surreal, a dream come true.... That is until Mrs. Harris' friends uncover a plot to use her candidacy to split the votes, in turn causing a third party candidate to win and thus embarrass Mrs. Harris. This cannot be and quickly her friends start planning a counter-plot.

Initially I wasn't sure that Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament was going to be as good as the previous two Mrs. 'Arris novels. And in a way I was right... The first novel, Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, remains my favorite of the series, but Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament is definitely a bitter-sweet comedy and a delightful read. I am curious to see what happens in the last book of the series as Parliament leaves off with some interesting possibilities.

I definitely encourage readers who have enjoyed the Mrs. Pollifax series, or like comedy with adventure and a short novel to check out the Mrs. 'Arris series. While libraries may not always carry the series I was able to find inexpensive used, but good copies online.

On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament a 3.5 to 4 -- I really liked it. Stay tuned for my review of the last Mrs. 'Arris book some time in May or June.


Carrie said...

How many ARE there all together? You keep surprising me! FUN!

(Howdy from TX, btw!)

Sarah M. said...

There are only four books in the series: Mrs 'Arris Goes To Paris, Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York, Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament and Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow.