Mrs. Emily Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a widowed empty-nester. She is tired of her life and tired of Garden Club Meetings. She decides that she needs to do something new – something exciting, something patriotic. So, naturally, she becomes a CIA agent. Her first assignment is to Mexico City. Unfortunately, and perhaps inevitably, things do not go according to plan and Mrs. Pollifax finds herself in the middle of a mess. Fortunately for her, she is one feisty lady and those who go up against her are in for quite a surprise! Subsequent books in the series find Mrs. Pollifax anywhere from Switzerland to Damascus, always feisty, always funny, always uniquely Mrs. Pollifax.
Sissy: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax is the first in a delightfully scrumptious series of 14 books written between 1966 and 2000. Mrs. Pollifax is a great character who not only has the mind of a detective but also knows karate and she uses it! I imagine that I will be like Mrs. Pollifax in my golden years.
Bubby: Well, considering that you ARE in your golden years and have yet to learn karate, I sincerely doubt it.
Sissy: Excuse me, Bubby, I am a purple belt in karate for your information.
Bubby: You were a purple belt 20 years ago. Not sure what your belt would look like nowadays. But anyway, I too adore Mrs. Pollifax. The whole series is fantastic. She reminds me of someone who would fit right in at the Red Hat society – those older women who wear their red hats with their purple dresses and have a ball with life.
Sissy: ONe of my problems with most cozy mysteries, although I do like them, is that murdered people just don’t turn up by the dozens in the same location. Mrs. Pollifax, on the other hand, doesn’t sit around the Garden Club and find dead people under the geraniums. SHe joins the CIA for heaven’s sake! At first they just give her little inane assignments that aren’t supposed to pose any danger but she proves once and for all that age does not diminish one’s innate wonderfulness.
Bubby: I agree with Sissy – in real life one call only find two or three dead bodies before people start accusing them of BEING the murderer. Mrs. Pollifax heads out to all these fantastic exotic locales (Mexico, Egypt, Africa, Morocco) and is involved in situations where murder and mayhem are plentiful.
Sissy: That is one of the most fun things about this series – the exotic locales. Mrs. Pollifax is a hoot when she tries to wear disguises and assimilate into the cultures. Dorothy Gilman is writing is witty and clever.
Bubby: The descriptions of places are so rich and detailed that I can almost smell the saffron couscous and feel the hot Damascus sun beating on my head (referring of course to Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled). I have no desire to be a CIA agent but I enjoy reading a book that can make me feel like one!
Sissy: Ah, yes, the burning sand squidging between my weary, travel-stained toes; the sweat dripping down my lobster-red brow, a tepid mug of barley tea clasped in my gun-grip calloused hands…I’m feeling it with you, Bubby!
Bubby: That’s my point exactly. I don’t actually WANT to go there and do that. I would much prefer to relax in my lavender scented bathwater and live vicariously through the pages of my book.
Sissy: Mrs. Pollifax even finds romance eventually. She is so not your Miss Marple brand of heroine. So go out and buy or borrow these books and read them because you will like them. 5 bubbles for me.
Bubby: Absolutely. I also recommend that you read any or all of Dorothy Gilman’s other books. She is a great writer. 4 1/2 bubbles for Mrs. Pollifax!
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