Think of Agatha Christie's elderly Miss Marple as a strong, adventurous, enlightened American CIA agent.
Dorothy Gilman is one of my favorite mystery authors. Her books, while somewhat light, are funny, surprising, suspenseful, filled with intriguing characters, and educational; and Mrs. Pollifax on Safari is one of her better stories. I like to read my favorite books over and over again, and I've read all of the Mrs. Pollifax books many times (they make me feel good, like old friends). I rather suspect that the Mrs. Pollifax character traits are somewhat autobiographical, and wish very much I were friends with the author.