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Quickie review: The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Synopsis

Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. So, naturally, she became a CIA agent. This time, the assignment sounds as tasty as a taco. A quick trip to Mexico City is on her agenda. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and our dear Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in quite a hot Cold War—and her country’s enemies find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady.

My review

In a nutshell, the best book I’ve read this year – and I’ve read a lot of books. Possibly the best book in several years!
If you’re expecting, despite the title, a cosy mystery with a feeble old dear as the main character, think again! This mystery takes on international dimensions and involves real, modern threats. Mrs Pollifax certainly starts her volunteer work with the CIA in at the deep end!
Everything’s pretty much perfect about this book – a delightfully likeable heroine, who’s more of an anti-heroine until push comes to shove, quirkiness grounded in brutal reality, the right combination of lucky coincidences and thwarted plans in the exciting action, and detailed, lively background..
The characterisations throughout are wonderful, the settings dramatic, and frequently terrifying, and the plot is clever with sheer brilliance thrown in here and there for good measure.
I literally couldn’t stop reading this book once I’d started. I was hooked from the start.
I can’t wait for Mrs P’s second adventure!

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