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Mrs. Pollifax On Safari (1983)

Mrs. Pollifax on Safari (1983)

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4.08 of 5 Votes: 1
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0449215245 (ISBN13: 9780449215241)
random house fawcett ballantine

About book Mrs. Pollifax On Safari (1983)

Mrs. Pollifax is sent on assignment to Africa - on safari, as we already know from the title - with instructions from the CIA to photograph everyone in her safari party, as one of them is an international assassain with the code name of Aristotle. So she stops at Abercrombie's to get properly outfitted, and heads off to Zambia. As an added bonus, her old friend John Sebastian Farrell is now rumored to be living in Zambia, so she hopes to look him up as well. But neither of those intentions go according to plan, when her casual questions about Farrell stir up a great deal of shock, and her film starts disappearing after she takes snapshots of the fellow safari guests. And that's only the beginning of the adventure...I've said it before, but I really love the glimpses into Mrs. Pollifax's "non-CIA" life at the beginning of each story. While to Mrs. P, that side of her life would be the everday, boring side, it provides a great counterpoint - and a great basis of comparison to make her adventures even more exciting - to her "secret" life as a spy. And she's a character that you can't help but love, and get invested in, so getting a glimpse into her New Brunswick, New Jersey apartment again is like stopping by to visit an old friend.Mrs. Pollifax has a way of viewing life, and viewing the world around her, with such excitement and interest that it is both endearing and contagious. It strikes a chord with me, because I understand where she's coming from so well. I loved the mention of how she adored going to the old Tarzan movies, and even when her son outgrew them, she still went alone, to revel in the excitement and danger of them. Man, is Mrs. P awesome!! And I also loved the description of her going to Abercrombie's (the old outdoor goods supplier, not the current A&F of our present day, of course) to get her clothes and gear for her adventure. It reminded me so much of how I'd approach the same adventure, if it were me, that it only served to endear her to me even more.After the last installment (A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax, which was a little weak in my opinion) Mrs. Pollifax on Safari was like a good shot of adenaline. As someone who loves international travel and seeing new, exciting places that are off the beaten path, it is a thrill to go along with Mrs. P as she sees some amazing places that the normal tourist doesn't get to see. It was intensely exciting to follow along with her as she travels to a new continent, and observes a new country (literally a new country, in this case). It is also interesting to read about the political climate in Africa at the time that the book was written (mid-1970s) and of course how it has changed today.Also unspoken is that this is the beginning of where we have to "shift" time forward in our fictional universe (or backward, depending on how you look at it). The first book was written in the mid-'60s...this one was written ten years later but only 4 years have passed in the fictional universe. Maybe none of the other readers think about this, and it isn't really a critique on the writing as much as just an interesting conundrum that writers must deal with when a series spans three decades yet the character only ages a handful of years. Technology is of specific importance in this book, so of course the CIA and Mrs. Pollifax will always want to keep up with the times...Bishop uses a computer for the first time in this installment in the series...and references to many of the characters (Carstairs, Farrell) having been of service age during WWII in the first few books is now sort of "forgotten" since, we're approaching the 1980s and they just wouldn't have been the right age for that.This story also marks the appearance of Cyrus Reed, who, for some reason, I can't help but picturing as a rugged Christoper Plummer type. He's likeable enough, but I have to admit that I feel sort of jealous toward him, because he quickly sets about claiming our Mrs. Pollifax for his own. Yes, the romance angle is sweet and makes me smile, and obviously I'm happy for Mrs. P that she finds this romance in her later years. But...I don't think that anyone is less in need of an overprotective man in her life as Mrs. Emily Pollifax, who can most certainly take care of herself! Part of what I love about her adventures is that she starts out, at least, on her own, exploring strange new lands and getting around quite capably all by herself. But now Cyrus comes in, and even though it goes unmentioned at times, the characters subtly defer to him as the "leader" of the situation. (view spoiler)[ Such as the part near the end, while they're waiting at the campfire for Sikota, and Farrell hands his gun to Cyrus instead of Mrs. Pollifax? Come on, who is the agent here, Cyrus or Mrs. P? I had to balk at that. (hide spoiler)]

On safari in Zambia for CIA Carstairs and Bishop, Emily Pollifax photographs elephants, lions, and assassin Aristotle targeting the country's President Kaunda. Like a whodunit, one villain must be found but another gets in the way. Series generally has more color, smell, scenery than species list here. Chapters are few but packed full. General character insights help clarify individual traits. Amy "must once have been lovely, but so very often beautiful women grew up lop-sided or didn't grow at all .. a curious hardness about her, as if her beauty was a deceptively rich topsoil, thinly spread over rock" p 76. The guides are nicknamed Crispin and Julian - dialect words and phrases slow and confuse. Secretive McIntosh, flat-chested, with white hairs among longish black on his head, goes by his first name, not his last. British travel author John Steeves "has more fun applying [acting] to dangerous situations" p 62. Prim Dutch salesman Willem Kleiber has "the most active nostrils of anyone she'd met" p 65 and a unique rolling gait. Charity-minded Dr Tom Henry adopted son Chanda 12, skilled tracker and survivalist, who admires Emily's large rainbow umbrella. Forthright American Lisa Reed is admired blatantly by Steeves and subtly by Henry. When one used film canister is stolen, why does Emily think another would be safe with Chanda? How would CIA know to ask the boy? More umbrella and more Chanda might have been more fun. The sweet light here is the growing attachment between big solid Cyrus and tiny soft Emily, more believable than his daughter's instant fall. "Six days with Emily Pollifax should have proven to him that he had to be on his toes every minute. No slides, he thought, grateful for this, but instead a woman who gave sudden shouts and vanished" p 213 "only way to keep an eye on you is to marry you" p 221. Lisa's father, 6' tall retired judge Cyrus follows Rhodesian kidnappers to, at the very least, bolster Emily's morale. The gang tie the hands of stylish widow Amy Lovecraft comfortably in front, unlike Emily, tied in the back and thus restricted from her karate chops. Simon punches Emily when she denies knowing which of four photos is her old spy pal (book #1) John Sebastian Farrell. The CIA said he was collecting mail from there, they would like him to return to work for them, so Emily put in a newspaper ad to find him. (view spoiler)[Amy is Rhodesian terrorist mastermind Betty Thwaite p 208 who wants the reward for Farrell, apartheid resistance leader. She is shot by her companions who fear she would talk. Lisa chooses Tom, both fell in love "that first night" p 204. McIntosh McGruder is an ill "multibillionaire recluse" advised to travel for health. (hide spoiler)]

Do You like book Mrs. Pollifax On Safari (1983)?

Plot: The assignment from Carstairs sounds simple enough. Mrs. Pollifax is to go on safari in Zambia and take photographs of the other participants. One of them may be an assassin. She's also asked to track down John Sebastian Farrell (from book 1) to see if he'd come back to work for the CIA. Mrs. Pollifax finds more than she bargained for, even something she didn't know she was looking for.Why I picked it up: I'm completely hooked on this series now.Why I kept reading: It was the interaction between all the characters and the new character who was introduced. Also, I had to know how she would escape her latest predicament, if she would find Farrell, and who the assassin was.In the end: It left me with that warm-fuzzy, satisfied feeling that a well-told story creates. I do love these stories.

Mrs. Pollifax could be classed as an American cousin to Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. An innocent looking, little old lady who has a sharp mind and great karate moves, Emily Pollifax relishes her occasional undercover assignments with the CIA. With her love of travel, when Carstairs asks her to join an African safari and take pictures of each person in the group to help them locate the contact for a deadly assassin who has already eliminated several highly placed people throughout the world, Emily figures this should be an innocent enough assignment. But as always adventure, intrigue and danger meet her head on.I love Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax series. She includes lots of details about the settings for Emily's adventures and these cozy mysteries always turn into stay up and read til done "whodunits"! It was nice in this one to find out how Emily finally met her husband Judge Cyrus Reed.

I found this novel in a "book box" in one of my closets. Having enjoyed the only other Mrs. Pollifax novel I read, I decided to give this one a shot, just as a diversionary entertainment.In this volume, Carstairs and Bishop of the CIA send Mrs. Pollifax on an African safari. They know that an international assassin will be on the trip, but they don't know what he or she looks like. Under the guise of a tourist, they want Mrs. Pollifax to get pictures of her fellow travelers so that they can identify the assassin and stop him or her from completing the next contracted kill.I've only read two of these books, and this one actually falls earlier in the series than the other. Nonetheless, I can see a formula at work. Mrs. Pollifax gets a seemingly easy or innocuous assignment from the CIA. Mrs. Pollifax travels to an exotic location (in this case, the country of Zambia) but as she starts the assignment there are early signs of trouble. All is not as it seems. Things quickly get out of hand, someone ends up being kidnapped and in the end, only Mrs. Pollifax's quick wits can save the day.Notwithstanding the formulaic nature of the plot, these stories are enjoyable. Gilman handles the plot and the characters deftly and the book remains lean and fast-paced. Also, in this particular adventure, Emily Pollifax meets Cyrus Reed, who I know from the other book will eventually become her husband. So there is a nice romance embedded in the adventure.This is drawing room mystery cross-bred with cloak and dagger spy fiction. If that sounds like fun to you, by all means, dig in. It's a quick and pleasant read. Just what I was looking for.
—Mark Oppenlander

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