Mrs Harris, Paul Gallico’s creation from the 1950’s, goes everywhere! In the first book of this series, Mrs Harris goes to Paris, a London charwoman goes to Paris to buy herself a Dior frock. The story of Mrs Harris falling in love with a dress, working and saving for the dress and finally getting to Paris, where she makes friends with models and marquises, before coming home with her frock, is lovely. The movie starring Angela Lansbury is gorgeous too.
Mrs Harris goes to New York, from 1960, has a similar, simple charm.
Mrs Harris and her friend and neighbour, Mrs Butterfield, are having a cuppa together one evening listening to the radio, when they overhear their neighbours, the horrible Gussets, beating a child in their care. The child, little Henry Brown, is the son of an American GI, who divorced Henry’s English mother before returning to America. Henry’s mother remarried and farmed out her son, as her new husband didn’t want Henry around.
When one of Mrs Harris’s customers asks her to go with her to New York to set up her household, Mrs Harris wangles a job in America for Mrs Butterfield also, then kidnaps Henry with the intention of reuniting him with his father.
Getting Henry out of England without a passport was no trouble for Mrs Harris, but smuggling him into America would not have been possible without the assistance of the Maquis, (from Mrs Harris Goes to Paris), who luckily, was also on the ship on his way to America to take up the post of French Ambassador to the United States.
George Brown proved harder to track down than Mrs Harris expected, but after a number of adventures in America, predictably, everything turns out for the best for little Henry, Mrs Harris, Mrs Butterfield, the Marquis and the rest of the crew.
Mrs Harris Goes to New York is an easy and happy read.