Book Review: The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Posted September 4, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Amazing 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.

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
Series: Mrs. Pollifax #2
Genres: Cozy, Mystery
Published by Fawcett on May 12, 1985
Pages: 172
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 Elusive Mrs Pollifax, A Palm for Mrs Pollifax, Mrs Pollifax on the China Station, Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha

Second in the Mrs Pollifax cozy mystery series and revolving around a retired lady living in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who occasionally gets involved with the CIA! The time period is in the late 1960s, early 70s.

My Take

It’s a coming-out from the cold and a coming into one’s own with plenty of excitement and action. Rescues, escapes, cross-country chases, gypsies, spies, and double agents galore.

It was not one of my favorite Mrs Pollifax stories with its slow pace, although it was easy to follow and zip through.

Gilman uses a third person protagonist point-of-view from Mrs Pollifax’s perspective, so all the action is seen through her eyes.

You can’t help but love Mrs Pollifax — she reminds me of Miss Marple with her insight! Oh, Emily is happy with her life, but she does crave some excitement, which she finds through Mr Carstairs in her role as a CIA courier. Well, ya gotta admit, no one would ever suspect Mrs Pollifax of being a spy!

The Story

A Russian agent is trying to defect but pursued by the intelligence agents of too many countries. It seems this Magda Ferenci-Sabo has too many secrets any country would love to acquire.

She needs to get out of Turkey…and Mrs Pollifax may be able to help.

The Characters

Mrs Emily Pollifax, a.k.a., Yurgadil Aziz, occasionally wonders why she enjoys the subterfuge of spying in foreign lands. And wonders what her daughter, Jane, or her son, Roger, who lives in Chicago with his wife, would think.

Lorvale Brown, a retired police sergeant, teaches karate. Miss Hartshorne is Mrs Pollifax’s neighbor.

Mr Carstairs, a.k.a., Black Jack, is an agent in charge who has employed Mrs Pollifax. Bishop is his assistant. Lt Mullin has been charged with picking up Mrs Pollifax. Jamison meets Mrs Pollifax at the plane. Henry Miles will shadow Mrs Pollifax. John Sebastian Farrell is a CIA agent in South America.

Barnes is with the State Department. Hawkins.

Alice Dexter White, a.k.a., Alice Blanche, is but a code name; during World War II she was Frau Wetzelman. Agatha Simms had been Red Queen. General Perdido is recovering from a heart attack in Peking.


Dr Guillame Belleaux is a noted criminologist, retired, and highly respected throughout Turkey.

Stefan Mihailic and Otto are thugs. Assim is another henchman. Sandor is a dangerous homeless man.

Mr Piskopos is with Turkish Intelligence and interrogates Mrs Pollifax at Santral Odasi. Lieutenant Cevdet Suleiman is one of his men. Officer Bey almost captured the Turkish target.

Colin Ramsey, a.k.a., Nazmi Aziz (his “sister” will become Nimet Aziz), is Mia’s brother, a bit of a mess-up in the family, whose last chance is working with his uncle, Sir Hubert, in Turkey with Ramsey Enterprises. The too-chatty Mia Ramsey is Colin’s youngest sister, a model who wants to be an actress, Their father is a member of parliament in England; their mother is a poet who joins protest marches. Their other two brothers will probably become generals or MPs. The Heatherton Agency employs Mia. Tony is the photographer and Mia’s boyfriend.

Bengziz Madrali is a fence.

Sabahat Pasha is one of many enterprising college students in town.

Gypsiesn are…
…the Zingari of whom Anyeta Inglescu is their paralyzed clairvoyant queen; her husband had been a famous violinist. Sebastien has a performing bear. Goru is their leader. Yule is the young thief.

Magda Ferenci-Sabo is a foreign agent who defects. She has a grandson, Dmitri Gurdjieff; his mother, Magda’s daughter, had been a hostage in Russia. Philippe had been her first husband, a rich playboy.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a collage of events and has a black background for a sky with a crescent moon (hmm, a metaphor for Turkey??) just below the end of the author’s name. You can barely see a helicopter below and to the left hovering over the grayed-out skyline of Istanbul with its minarets and the dome of a mosque. There are more pointed monuments in the cemetery that appears in the foreground. A gray banner forms the background for an info blurb in white at the very top. The author’s name is in white in the sky. The title is a purple violet, shaded in black, almost disappearing into the cemetery at the bottom.

The title is The Amazing Mrs Pollifax, for she truly is a-mazing.

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