on 9 April 2000
A lover of Mrs Pollifax, I have become disappointed in the books at the end of the series. Those things that make Mrs Pollifax, Mrs Pollifax, have disappeared - her love for fantastic hats, her wind swept hair, and her desire to be charmed. Alas our dear Emily has lost her ability to be charmed by the world and is now just your run of the mill spy. This book is still a good read but the essence of Pollifax, complete with karate and magic tricks is missing. She is far too business like. I rather suspect that Gilman, understandably, has become with Mrs Pollifax, but is still writing them to keep the fans happy. I long for the Mrs Pollifax who played solitare until she drove Farrell to distraction.
When her husband, Cyrus, takes a trip to the American Bar Association meeting, Mrs. Pollifax expects that the most exciting thing on her agenda will be the upcoming garden club meeting. However, her curiosity is aroused when she keeps seeing a van drive by her country home. Even more surprising is finding a young woman hiding in one of her closets. While trying to sneak Kadi Hopkirk away from the house, Mrs. Pollifax finds herself followed. With nowhere to turn, she calls Carstairs at the CIA, who whisks her away to a most unusual safe house with a mystery all its own. Can she make sense of what is happening there? What have she and Kadi stumbled into?
Being Mrs. Pollifax, she’s stumbled into quite a lot. Coincidence might be a little higher than normal in this book, but that’s always been a staple of the series, and it didn’t really bother me here. It does appear to be wandering with no point for a while, but everything does come together at the end. Carstairs and Bishop play a higher than normal roll in the book, and I enjoyed seeing them in action. All the characters are wonderful, new and old alike.
I seem to remember being a bit disappointed when I first read the book almost 15 years ago, but I can’t figure out why now. Maybe it was because Carstairs drove the climax and Mrs. Pollifax didn’t? If that was the case, it was actually set up that way from the beginning of the book. Or maybe it was because most of the book takes place in the United States with them just leaving the country for the climax. Now, I like it for the break in the formula.
Whatever the case, I enjoyed it very much on this reread. Fans of Mrs. Pollifax will delight in another wonderful adventure.