Book Review: A Palm for Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Posted January 17, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: A Palm for Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Palm for Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
Series: Mrs. Pollifax #4
Genres: Cozy
on May 28, 2014
Pages: 196
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also in this series: Mrs Pollifax on the China Station

Also by this author: Mrs Pollifax on Safari, The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, The Elusive Mrs Pollifax, Mrs Pollifax on the China Station, Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha

Fourth in the Mrs. Pollifax cozy mystery series and revolving around a little old lady with a penchant for adventure…with the CIA. We’re off to Switzerland in this tale.

My Take

I do enjoy this cozy series. Ya gotta love it when Mrs Pollifax states that, even at her age, there are still surprises. Well, duh, yeahhh… I had to laugh when Miss Hartshorne gives Mrs P such grief about her boring life *snicker*.

The action moves right along — there are some pretty exciting escapes in this, lol. And I think everyone should be taking karate…at least for the surprise aspect of it. Leaving that aside though, I see this as more character-driven.

It’s that Mrs. P. She’s such an unexpected agent, making her so perfect for righting wrongs and fixing those people with whom she comes in contact all while saving the day. Then again, that poor Robert Jones, oops, I mean Robert Burke-Jones, may not see it that way. At first. He is having a hard time of it. First with Court and then with Mrs Pollifax. Sigh.

Technically, Gilman uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view simply because we do experience Carstairs’ AND Mrs Pollifax’s scenes from their perspectives, but Mrs P is definitely the primary POV.

Hafez’s comments about his dad make him sound like a really good guy. That’s one lucky king to have him around.

Power is “the ultimate toy, the deepest psychological lust of all because it held within it all the satisfactions of the sensual as well as the ascetic.”

The lesson here is to never judge a book by its cover.

The Story

Two thefts of plutonium has the CIA and Interpol concerned. Worried enough that Bill Carstairs sends Mrs Pollifax off to “recover from the flu”.

The Characters

Mrs Emily Pollifax is retired and quite involved in a variety of interests: protecting the environment, karate, Garden Club, yoga, etc. She has two children, Roger and Jane (in Arizona), and they haven’t a clue.

William Carstairs is head of his department and employs Mrs Pollifax on an as-and-when basis. Bishop is his assistant. Adelaide Carstairs is an “old friend” of Emily’s.

Henri Schoenbeck is handling the case in Europe. Marcel is an agent undercover at the clinic as a waiter. Gervard will be in charge of the Lake Geneva end.

Fraser is their agent, who had an “accident”.

Hotel-Clinic Montbrison, Switzerland
Mr Royan was addressed in the letter. Piers Gundig is the head concierge. Dr Lichtenstein is the staff physician. Additional staff includes Emil and Marcel. Guests include Robin Burke-Jones, a charming playboy; Count Ferrari, who is a devout patient; the gun-shy Court van Roelen, who is here on vacation from her job as an administrative assistant at UNESCO; Lord and Lady Palisbury (the impulsive John and incautious Jane); General d’Estaing, who served in World War II and has retired as head of the Sûreté; Ibrahim Sabry is in a wheelchair; and, the Parvizes.

Hafez Parviz is a young man who needs a friend; he’s here with his grandmama, Madame “Zizi” Parviz. Serafina Fahmy, Fouad Murad, and Munir Hassan are her personal staff.

Miss Grace Hartshorne lives in 4-C, Mrs Pollifax’s energetic neighbor. Eric had been Court’s first (jerk of a) husband. Montrose is another clinic in Switzerland.

Zabya is…
…a country in the Middle East. The very popular King Jarroud is celebrating his 40th birthday. General Mustafa Parviz is the head of the army and Hafez’s father. Sheik Yazdan Kashan was Jones’ first victim. It is the shepherd Isa who saved Zabya from invasion. In 1236.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a gray green upper background with a marbled wainscoting and a clay tile floor — a typical stereotype of a first-class lobby. Centered in the middle is a potted palm tree, almost the full height of the cover. A light burgundy banner across the top is the background for an info blurb in white. Left aligned, in white, are the author’s name and the title.

I’m sure there’s a reason for A Palm for Mrs Pollifax as the title, but I can’t figure it out. Unless it’s strictly about the palm on the cover…

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