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A Palm For Mrs Pollifax (1992)

A Palm for Mrs Pollifax (1992)

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4.08 of 5 Votes: 3
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0449208648 (ISBN13: 9780449208649)
fawcett crest ballantine random house

About book A Palm For Mrs Pollifax (1992)

Mrs. Pollifax's fourth adventure takes her somewhere new (well, if you don't count her brief stop there at the end of the last book, but that was after the action was over) - Switzerland. And this mission is a promotion of sorts: instead of a courier assignment, this one is about reconaissance. Something strange is going on at the Hotel-Clinic Montbrison, and Interpol needs a hand, so they turn to their friends at the CIA and our dear Mrs. Pollifax takes it from there.I love the character of Mrs. Pollifax. She is one of my favorites, and she is very much ahead of her time - as was Dorothy Gilman. (As an aside, this book was also ahead of its time, as the crux of the plot, revealed toward the end of the book, is very much something that would ring a bell to current events between 1995 and 2005 or so). But back to Mrs. she's adding yoga to her repertoire, and personally I think she's pretty cool. And there is also an amazing amount of insight and reflection into human nature, age, and life. Some of Mrs. Pollifax's observations (which are, therefore, Dorothy Gilman's observations as well) really make me sit back and think for awhile. Good stuff.But as for the plot itself, I found it much weaker than the first three installments. We're treated to a change of pace, here, in that it isn't one long wild ride from one destination to the next; here, the majority of the story unfolds in the Hotel-Clinic Montbrison in Switzerland, though things do pick up a bit in the end. The Hotel-Clinic is almost a character in its own right, and although it's supposed to be a nice place to visit, it really isn't anywhere I'd want to go, and maybe that's why I don't really care for the place. But it's more than that; the story itself just isn't strong, there are a lot of things that don't make sense, and one bit that really had me scratching my head was where Hafez takes inventory of his possessions (in true Dorothy Gilman style, and which I personally adore) one of which is a pocket knife. But then - shortly afterward - he suddenly wishes for any weapon, even a pair of scissors, but lamentably has none (the inventory is run through again, this time sans pocket knife... ???)Some of the plot storylines didn't seem resolved by the ending - which also seemed rushed to me - and other resolutions seemed equally rushed. I won't go into details because I don't like spoilers, even when they're behind a "spoiler warning" message.I found myself only lukewarm over most of the characters, too...probably because I could see their potential, and I know what Dorothy Gilman's capable of (the first book in the series, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, is an absolute masterpiece) and the only character I really took a shine to was Robin Burke-Jones, who was charming if unlikely.Also a bit odd to me was that Mrs. Pollifax suddenly decided to confide in several non-agents and disclose "confidential information" to them - which she would never have done in the previous books. It was also a bit baffling that Bishop flew to Switzerland in the middle of it all, not even to save the day but just to show up and have a conversation with Mrs. P and then say he had to get back stateside. (What the heck?!) Other things - such as the elaborate code Mrs. P had to memorize at the beginning - were barely employed at all and even then more as an afterthought than anything else.With all that being said, this was still an enjoyable read (though more Miss Marple-ish than Mrs. Pollifax-ish, if you ask me!) and I adore following Mrs. P on all of her adventures...but A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax is not nearly on par with the previous three books. (view spoiler)[OK, one spoiler. She is awarded the highest medal that the country of Zabya can give for her efforts, and we don't even get a one-sentence description of how that ceremony went?? That's a little surprising, really!! It was almost like the ending was cut short a few chapters before it should have ended; I'm reading the three-book compilation of which this is the first section, and I honestly had to flip ahead to make sure I didn't overlook any chapters! (hide spoiler)]

Since a "palm" is not a date tree or facing hand-print, second read gives title probable meaning as a sleight of hand. White-haired Emily Pollifax, sent by CIA to Swiss health clinic for missing plutonium, trades it for 2 cans of peaches. Hazef 10, "very brown, very thin and wiry and leggy, with jet-black hair" p 31, hostage for his gran Madame Parviz's behavior, exchanges Madame's sleeping pills for Emily's aspirin, to waken the comatose patient. Re-read helps with title. 1* each for Robin 30ish? and Hazef 10, barely. Plot and ending are not as good as usual. Series usually takes reader to strange country, beauty of land, nature of natives, painless history and geography. Here one fast escape from a bare castle "Bonivard Prison" p 139. (view spoiler)[ Too much coincidence. Boy's pockets hold useful Schnitzel snack and "jackknife" p 149. Handy chest to imprison enemy, holds only "coil of thick rope" p 142 to exit via "latrine" p 168. (hide spoiler)]

Do You like book A Palm For Mrs Pollifax (1992)?

I finally got round to reading this book which has been gathering dust on my bookshelves for years in the endless queue that piles up behind the monthly offerings from my reading group and I can honestly say it was worth hanging on to it. The Mrs Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman are an non taxing read but so enjoyable. I just love that Miss Hartshorne her neighbour has no idea Mrs Pollifax does jobs for the CIA. "I've tried for years to persuade you to do some travelling with me but no, you simply won't travel at all. What you lead, Emily, is an unhealthily dull life."...."It's no vacation at all, cheering up an old friend, and don't think I haven't noticed how tired you are when you return from these little trips. Your essential problem, Emily, is that you have no sense of adventure." "None at all," said Mrs Pollifax, beaming at her friend, "but won't you have another cup of tea, anyway, Grace?" lol

When I first saw one of the books in the Mrs. Pollifax series, I assumed it was another cozy mystery. I was expecting an American Miss Marple. Then as I read the story, I realized that it was a fun spy novel. I think of it as a Jessica Fletcher-meets-John le Carré kind of tale. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series and I was eager to read more about this entertaining character. This book takes us to Switzerland and the story is wrapped in a nuclear plot. The various characters seem to be almost over-the-top stereotypical, but the story is still exciting and dramatic. I notice occasionally how times have changed since these stories were written and I had to smile to myself when Emily burns the message in the airplane lavatory. In these days, that kind of activity would certainly cause trouble for her. I really like the characters and the plucky courage with which Emily conducts herself. I like her devil-may-care attitude and her sense of wonder and ability to take in the sights as she dashes about on her mission. I am really looking forward to reading the fifth book in the series, Mrs. Pollifax on Safari.interesting quotes:"One cannot tell the young anything, madame." (p. 69)"This is what astonished and alarmed me, that evil can be so commonplace. It is not in the face or in the words but in the heart, in the intentions." (p. 70)"Zen - tremendously refreshing. There's a great deal to be said for letting life just happen." (p. 107)

I just finished listening to book four of the Mrs. Pollifax series. This book takes us the Switzerland and introduces us to a variety of characters. Once again Mrs. Pollifax meddles in other aspects of her life in the clinic, while doing her job. You have Interpol involved with this one and they clearly under estimate Mrs. Pollifax and can’t believe what the US was thinking sending her there. Bishop, who finally gets out from behind his desk is dispatched to let them know why Mrs. Pollifax was sent into the clinic. With a wedding and a medal of the highest honor from Zambia given out at the end of the book, you can see that this adventure of hers twists and turns through out the book.
—Stacie M. Ritchie

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