A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody and Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico

I’ve been getting quite a lot of reading done recently so I’m just doing this quick post about two of them, as reminders for myself really.

A Medal for Murder is the second book in Frances Brody’s Kate Shackleton series. Kate is still in denial about her husband’s death in the First World War and she’s still hoping to find him somewhere, lying damaged in a hospital perhaps. Meantime she’s working as a private investigator and in this case she’s been asked by the owner of a pawn shop to help track down whoever has broken into his premises and stolen items which clients had pawned, expecting to redeem them when they could afford to do so. His whole business is at stake as nobody will use a pawnbroker if they think they won’t be able to get their goods returned to them.

It’s set in Yorkshire’s Harrogate in the early 1920s and involves murder as well as theft and it’s no time before Kate Shackleton is in the thick of it. There are plenty of twists and turns but I think that these books improve as the series progresses.

Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico was first published in 1958 and in the US it was called Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris.

Mrs Harris is a London char lady (cleaner) who is a widow in her 60s. She finds that she needs to supplement her widow’s pension so she cleans the houses of various wealthy people, she’s fussy about who she cleans for, she has to like them and her clients feel lucky that she has deigned to take them on.

In this book Mrs Harris catches sight of some Christian Dior dresses belonging to Lady Dant and she immediately falls in love with them and feels that she must have one of her own. The only problem is that it costs around £450 for a Dior frock, a huge sum of money, but Mrs Harris feels that it’s her destiny to own a Dior frock. After trials and tribulations she does get to Paris and there she wows the whole staff of Dior, including the boss.

This is a feel good book in which you have to suspend your disbelief as the character of Mrs Harris charms absolutely everyone she comes into contact with and she makes good things happen for them although things don’t always go well for Mrs Harris herself.

4 thoughts on “A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody and Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico

  1. I have read the first Frances Brody, but have yet to go any further. Mainly because I think you can start too many series of books and sometimes they all merge into one and you can’t distinguish the storylines.

    I think this might be a series for when I have exhausted Agatha Raisin, Daisy Dalrymple, Royal Spyness…….

    • Jo,
      I suppose it’s a bit like having a holiday doing a National Trust binge, everything merges into one big house and estate in your brain later! I think I’ll start on Daisy Dalrymple next though.

  2. Katrina,
    Flowers for Mrs. Harris was made into a rather charming movie in 1992, with Angela Lansbury and Diana Rigg. It uses the American title, Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris. Omar Sharif is in it too, but you can’t have everything.

    • Sandy,
      That’s another one I’ll have to look out for. I think the American title is better. I remember thinking that Omar Sharif was quite dishy when I was a youngster but mind you my favourite actor at that time was Edward G. Robinson – I think I was definitely different.

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