Book Review: Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha by Dorothy Gilman

Posted September 2, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha 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.

Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha by Dorothy Gilman
Series: Mrs. Pollifax #7
Genres: Action, Adventure, Cozy, Mystery
Published by Doubleday on September 1, 1985
Pages: 181
Format: Hardcover
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, A Palm for Mrs Pollifax, Mrs Pollifax on the China Station

Seventh in the Mrs Pollifax cozy mystery series and revolving around a retired lady who fusses with her flowers and married Cyrus ten months ago.

My Take

It’s all a matter of trust…and it causes Emily to reflect back over the damage China did to its own people, wasting their own resources. Although it’s not just China that does this. Witness how long it’s taken for women to get anywhere, approximately half of the world’s population whose intelligence is ignored by men. Sure, there are the “blondes”, but there are also plenty of “blonds”.

Gilman uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Mrs Pollifax’s and Robin’s perspectives.

Ha, the man with the black aura should know better than to draw attention to himself. I still don’t get why Detwiler was compromised. As for that noble sacrifice…I cried. It did make me laugh over the government’s and Interpol’s stunned reaction to amateurs solving the case, *grin*.

Robin gives out some of his back story while we learn what a naive idiot Hitchens was.

Robin also provides an excellent definition of terrorism: Pure theater. Nothing is actually “accomplished by it other than to focus attention on a small group of people who seize absolute power by threatening everything that holds civilization together. … They’re parasites of the century … they’re only passion is to mock and to destroy…”

The story moves along at a reasonable pace, primarily character-driven due to the bad guys’ plans and the good guys’ aims, in a fun tale that tours Hong Kong. I do love how Mrs Pollifax causes people to look all know-how.

Just remember: “It’s where you are now that matters.”

The Story

Sheng Ti is in trouble, and the only person he trusts is Emily Pollifax. If Carstairs wants to know if his agent in Hong Kong is double-crossing him, he’ll have to send Mrs Pollifax.

The Characters

Emily Pollifax, a.k.a. Irma Blank, had been depressed enough for her doctor to urge her to look for some work she’d always wanted to do. Cyrus Reed is a retired judge Emily met in Zambia (Mrs Pollifax on Safari, 5) and then married.

Bishop is Carstairs‘ assistant.

Hong Kong

Albert Hitchens is a psychic on a case. He lives in Squantum near Boston and has worked with the Boston police, taught at Boston colleges, and written several books. Alec Hao, Damien Hao’s son, is one of Hitchens’ former students from Boston University. Ruthie, a schoolteacher, is the first of Hitchens’ three ex-wives, who unexpectedly shows up in Hong Kong as a tourist. The other two were an aspiring young actress, Sophie Simms, and an aspiring young magician and Sophie’s friend, Rosalie.

Inspector Damien Hao, in charge of the unit to investigate drugs, crime, and corruption, resigned and is now missing. He had been a friend of Detwiler’s.

Lars Petterson is the third-richest man in the world. Actually, he’s Robin Burke-Jones, a.k.a. “Blue Dragon, a former cat burglar-turned-Interpol agent (A Palm for Mrs Pollifax, 4) charged with finding Inspector Hao. Marko Constantine is Robin’s partner and one of Interpol’s best agents. Marko had had a cousin, Gena, a special woman who got blown up. Other Interpol agents will include Krugg “Raven”, Upshot, and Witkowski.

Hong Kong PD
Duncan, the head of the Special Unit, is in charge of the radio van. Harold Lei and Jim Bai are also on the case.

Feng Imports, Ltd is…
…a small business on Dragon Alley importing diamonds and gems owned by Charles Yuan Feng, a front for the CIA where their Eurasian agent, Tom Detwiler, works. Jane O’Malley is Detwiler’s very bored housekeeper.

Weng Feng is Charles’ brother who had been deported to Taiwan for his Nationalist leanings. Weng’s wife is Xian Sutsung and their son is Xian Pi.

The now-terrified Sheng Ti had been a hei jen, a person who couldn’t fit in, in Mrs Pollifax on the China Station, 6, and Emily arranged to smuggle him out. Now he works for Feng. Lotus also works there. Hoong taught Sheng Ti how to pick pockets for Feng.

The Triad is an active criminal element with fingers within the Hong Kong PD. Pi sublets his apartment to Interpol. The Finch-Bertrams (Ming is their non-English-speaking maid) and the Wongs are Detwiler’s neighbors. General Chiang Kai Shek is the Nationalist leader of Taiwan. Allen Chen is a burglar, a.k.a. The Man with the Attaché Case. Donald Chang works the baggage room at Kai Tak airport. Crystal Curio Enterprises owns a number of buildings on Dragon Alley.

The conspirators
Eric “Eric the Red” Johansen is the man with the black aura and the terrorist leader of the Liberation 80’s Group that includes Xian Pi, Charles Szabo, Jan von Damm, John Yonomoto, Hoban Holloway, Miguel Valentos, John D’Eon, Carl Eberhardt (who drove the taxi), Henri Duval, and Angelo Gregorio. Stalin’s Organ is a multiple rocket launcher.

Mr Lupalak is the building contractor working on Emily and Cyrus’ new house. Lorvale Brown, a retired policeman, is Mrs Pollifax’s karate instructor. Wang Shen had been the man rescued in Mrs Pollifax on the China Station. Anyeta Inglescu is a queen of gypsies whom Emily met in The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, 2.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a black background with a thin border of colonial blue on the left and bottom edge. All the text is right-aligned starting at the top with the title in a deep fuchsia, each word on its own line. Below that is the information, in peach, that this is “a novel”. The author’s name is in a light gradation of peach to purple, each word on its own line as well. With his left knee above the “B” in Buddha, a golden (should have been ivory!) buddha sits in the lotus position to the left.

The title is all about what tips Emily off, for its Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha, a gift that gives so much.

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