Book Review: Mrs Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman

Posted August 2, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Mrs Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman

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

Mrs Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman
Genres: Cozy
Published by Fawcett on May 28, 2014
Pages: 224
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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

Fifth in the Mrs Pollifax cozy mystery series and revolving around a little old lady, who likes adventure.

My Take

I do enjoy Mrs Pollifax. She strongly reminds me of Heron Carvic’s Miss Seton, herself a modern day Miss Marple!

Yes, the story can be rather obvious, but it is fun with a retired widow who is an intriguing combination of sweet, considerate, and observant with the ability to encourage people to confide in her and quite capable of taking care of herself, lol.

Scary thought…and very accurate: “…whole civilizations have become graveyards by corrupting their currency.”

Gilman did a nice job of providing some insight into African culture. I also love how Gilman focuses on kindness and acceptance…even as Mrs Pollifax chases down the bad guys *grin*.

I don’t know if it was a time period thing back in 1976, but all the insta-love was annoying, oy.

Mrs Pollifax on Safari is a combination of action and character with Gilman using, again, a combination of mostly third person protagonist point-of-view, which means we see and experience everything from Mrs Pollifax’s perspective, and a bit of dual third person, since we also experience Cyrus’ desperate attempts to get to her.

I originally started up with Mrs Pollifax, oy, decades ago. And this was before technology made it so easy to get the books in chronological order! This particular story has quite a few of ’em with their own stories — that last chapter especially has me curious.

So anyway, I was thrilled to discover how Emily met Cyrus Reed, who has quite the abrupt speech and is a love, as is Chanda. I do love that boy! He’s such a sweetie. I’ll be hoping we see more of him as well as his father, Dr Tom. Yeah, Lisa intrigues me as well. I also suspect we’ll be seeing more of Farrell!

The Story

Emily Pollifax is quite excited about her upcoming trip to Africa. No matter what the goal, she intends to demand that she get to see lions!

So you can imagine her excitement when she learns she’ll be photographing everything while on safari!

The Characters

Mrs Emily “Duchess” Pollifax is a widow living in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with a love for hats and the occasional job for the CIA. She’s also the vice-president of the Save-Our-Environment Committee and secretary for the New Brunswick Garden Club. She has two grown children, including Roger.

Carstairs is in charge. William Bishop is his long-suffering assistant. Bennet is an agent in Algiers. Pete, another agent, was one of Aristotle’s victims. Aristotle is the codename for a very successful international assassin.

Lorvale is Mrs Pollifax’s karate instructor. Miss Hartshorne is one of Mrs Pollifax’s neighbors who likes to plan in advance.


On safari
Homer Kulumbala is a driver. Julian, a.k.a., Milimo Simoko Chikwanda, is the safari manager. Crispin, a.k.a., Wamufu Chinyanta Muchona, is the assistant safari manager. Moses is part of the crew.

Fellow travelers include a retired judge, Cyrus Reed, and his passionate, warm-hearted daughter, Lisa; Willem Kleiber sells earthmoving machinery to developing countries; the overly fashionable widow, Amy Lovecraft, chases anyone in pants; John Steeves writes travel books and has a love of costume and danger; Dr Thomas “Tom” Henry works out of a mission hospital near the Angolan border, and his adopted son, Chanda Henry; and, the mysterious McIntosh.

John Sebastian Farrell, a former CIA agent now known as Mulika, is living anonymously in Zambia (The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax, 1). Patu and Joshua are part of his team. Jonesi is a poacher.

The police
Lieutenant Dunduzu “Dundu” Bwanausi chases Emily down. Dundu’s brother, Qabaniso, shares ownership in a farm. Soko is on the desk.

Kenneth “KK” Kaunda is the president of Zambia and dedicated to working against apartheid. Jacob works at Barclay’s Bank in Lusaka. Kanyama and Mbulo were chance encounters on the road.

The kidnappers
Simon is in charge of this crew — Reuben and Mainza — but answers to Sikota. Betty Thwaite, a Rhodesian, is the intelligence behind a fanatical right-wing group. Mr McGillicuddy is part of the “story”.

A marconi is a two-way radio.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a golden background, all the better to showcase a brown wooden mask with yellowed grasses sprouting from the top and bottom and located on the center right. A green band at the top is the background for an info blurb in white. The author’s name is in white at the top and justified left. The title is below that and a pale yellow.

The title is the destination, for it is Mrs Pollifax on Safari, tasked with photographing her fellow travelers.

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