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Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled (2001)

Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled (2001)

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3.94 of 5 Votes: 4
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0449006700 (ISBN13: 9780449006702)
ballantine books

About book Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled (2001)

In her latest adventure, Mrs. P heads back to the Middle East—destination: Syria, this time. A very mysterious set of circumstances surrounds a plane hijacking that was averted from danger by a young American girl who walked up to a hijacker and asked for his gun, which was instrumental in freeing all of the hostages. And then, she gives a very nondescript, taciturn interview at the airport in Damascus, gets into a car—the wrong car—is whisked away and is never heard from again.Enter Mrs. Pollifax, for who better to track down the whereabouts of a mysterious missing person? Her old friend and “war buddy” Farrell also goes along for the ride, making for another of her better, more memorable adventures. The chemistry and dynamic between the friendship of Mrs. Pollifax and John Sebastian Farrell has long been a strength of this series. They play off each other perfectly, these two very memorable characters who are in some ways as different as day and night, and in other ways exactly alike.There is suspense, adventure, and quite a bit of tension in what turns out to be another wild ride through a foreign country. With it, we have the Dorothy Gilman signatures of picking up some new vocabulary words in the native language, learning a bit about the local culture and geography, and working real cities and places into the storyline. That is something I have always enjoyed about the Mrs. Pollifax books; the hotels Mrs. P stays in are real, and the places she visits, generally speaking, are real locations. Even now, so many years after the books have been written, I find myself looking up some of the places and hotels online, and yes, they’re real. My hat off to Dorothy Gilman for being authentic and true to fact.This was the last book in the Mrs. Pollifax series and since it is one of my favorite series with one of my favorite heroines, it was a little bittersweet to arrive at the end of this book (this story is delivered in true Mrs. Pollifax style, with a satisfying ending to the mission…did we ever have any doubt?) but one of the things I like is that although the particular storyline of this book is resolved, there isn’t any final end to Mrs. P’s adventures, which I happen to like immensely. So although this is the last book, I prefer to imagine that it isn’t Mrs. P’s last adventure, not by a long shot. Dorothy Gilman was well before her time, yet she was also timeless: so much of what she wrote in this series, and even in this book in particular, is as true now—if not more so—as it was then. Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled was written in the 1999-2000 timeframe, when international focus was particularly strong on the Middle East…and Dorothy Gilman rightfully predicted that it would continue to be so in the years that followed.There were very satisfying tie-ins with a lot of the earlier books, all the way back to the beginning, of course. All though it isn’t explicitly mentioned, I like to think that if Dorothy Gilman had a pretty good idea that this would be her last Mrs. Pollifax book, that she would leave Mrs. Pollifax’s career open-ended for us to imagine new adventures, yet at the same time give us a sense of closure, too. Mrs. Pollifax went on her very first adventure with Farrell…and in this last, printed adventure, Farrell is there with her again. There are references of Kadi Hopkirk, a recurring character in the later books; there are (bad) memories of Hong Kong, and most poignantly of all, and probably my favorite part of the whole book, where Mrs. Pollifax is sitting at the bus station in the middle of the night in the Syrian countryside, waiting for the bus to Damascus, and she and her companions can’t speak because they don’t want anyone to hear them speaking English, so she has to make do with her thoughts; and what she thinks of are her many adventures and the many people she had met…especially Tsanko, from one of her very first adventures. I honestly re-read that scene about five times in a row. Re-reading Tsanko’s words to Mrs. P from so long ago (both long ago in the “Mrs. Pollifax adventure” timeline, and even more in “real time”…) and it really summed up, as this book did, all of the awesome places Mrs. Pollifax got to see, the things she got to do, and maybe most importantly, the people she got to meet.Whenever I’m getting on a plane myself, bound for some faraway land, I always look around at my fellow passengers, hoping that someday I catch a glimpse of Mrs. P on her way to an exciting new destination.

4/2014I re-read the book and enjoyed it in the same ways as before - odd because often my reaction to books is different depending on my current perspective. Apparently, I was in the same mood as the last time I read this one.11/2012Mrs. Pollifax books often start with her sense of not feeling useful, of boredom with what retirement provides - and she is a pretty active person if you look at her list of activities. But I get the desire for something exciting and meaningful, though I doubt I would choose the CIA for fulfillment. As she is puttering about her house, feeling this sense of boredom, Mrs. Pollifax receives her phone call and off she goes to Syria with her good friend and colleague, Farrell. Her husband, fortunately, has to remain home - it is better when she doesn't have to worry about him getting kidnapped. In Syria, Pollifax and Farrell must avoid the bad guys - and Gilman does a nice job of explaining why Assad is not a bad guy, from the perspective of the CIA and US Government...we (in the royal sense) accept the lesser of two evils quite readily - and locate a US citizen who may have been kidnapped after thwarting a hijacking, and who may be dead but about whom rumors abound. For all of Pollifax's luck, descriptions of her adventures do not leave me wanting to join her. Great fun and re-readable because I never have to worry about the final outcome - my mom would classify it as "watching TV"...

Do You like book Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled (2001)?

Re-read since I have it on Kindle now, have read it several times in paperback. Never noticed in previous reads: a lot is said about how, regardless of what you might think of the man and his methods, Hafez al-Assad was keeping Syria relatively stable and his death would be a serious blow to the region...this book was published in 2000, which is the same year that Assad died. Interesting timing, the author must have been quite frustrated when her book was published and then the man died right afterward.

This is the final Mrs. Pollifax mystery. The author, Dorothy Gilman, died of complications of Alzheimer’s disease twelve years after this volume’s publication in 2000. I’m assuming that Dorothy Gilman’s illness prevented her from bringing Mrs. P’s adventures to a conclusion. I very much enjoyed this last story, in which Mrs. Pollifax and John Sebastian Farrell travel to Syria in search of an American girl who thwarted a terrorist attack, then disappeared. Amanda Pym has been written off as dead by most, but with the help of an archeologist on a dig in the desert, she is found at a sniper training camp. Their rescue of Amanda, and their dangerous journey back out of Syria, had me flipping pages as fast as I could read them. Oh, Mrs. Pollifax, I’m going to miss forging on to new adventures with you!

This is a cozy mystery series featuring an older (think senior citizen) lady who believe it or not, works for the CIA. Here latest adventure takes place in Syria where she is asked to discover if a kidnapped American, Amanda Pym is in fact still alive and being held captive by terrorists. Of course, the story is slightly ridiculous (an elderly lady overcoming tried and true terrorists) but it's fun and quick to read. Don't get me wrong there is evident danger and Mrs. Pollifax and John Farrell get captured and tortured but the details are slim and the story advances. I would definitely read of further adventures in Africa with Mrs. Pollifax and possibly Amanda and even Joe.
—Barbara ★

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