Posing as a tourist, Emily makes her way to China with the job of protecting a CIA treasure.
©1983 Dorothy Gilman Butters (P)1990 Recorded Books, LLC
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
In this sixth adventure of Mrs. Pollifax, she is sent by Mr.Carstairs, her CIA boss, on a tour of the People's Republic of China with the objective of locating a particular man in a particular barber shop in a warren of alleyways outside the walls of a historic Chinese city. Once she finds the man, she is to attempt to get information from him about the exact location of a particular work camp where dissidents are held.
Written in 1983, this book deals with China in a period of very tense relations between the US and China, when the Chinese government kept an iron fist over the Chinese people, and foreign tourism was tightly restricted. As a result, a large part of Mrs. P's mission was to get away from the tour long enough to locate the man in question, get the information from him, and get back to the tour group without being caught in any suspicious behavior. Then she was supposed to hand the information over to another member of her tour group and her mission was finished. Of course, Emily Pollifax can never simply do her job and withdraw -- she will always want to help any person who could use assistance. And so she gets more deeply involved than was intended.
One of the best parts of Mrs. Pollifax stories is not the mission she is sent on, but the people she encounters and becomes friends with. In this book, the members of her tour group are a varied bunch of Americans, and there is a lot of personal emotion going on in the group. Mrs. P becomes personally involved with several of the group, advising young people about relationships, and not-so-young people about life in general. She forms an emotional attachment to the young American agent she was sent to help, and as a result becomes more emotionally involved than in some other adventures.
Emily Pollifax is such a delightful, amusing and caring little old lady that the books written about her are warm, funny, suspenseful and heartwarming all at the same time. They always provide a lovely escape from the everyday lives we lead.
As usual, Barbara Rosenblat is amazing in narration, providing Emily with the absolutely perfect sweet little old lady voice while also providing spot-on portrayals of Americans fvrom various regions of the country and of Chinese characters, both male and female. If you see Mrs. P books read by someone else, avoid them -- only Rosenblat will do!
I really like the Mrs. Pollifax books, but they are weirdly old-fashioned, so if that's a problem for you, you won't like this series. The politics are out of date, the CIA guy is a one dimensional stereotype, and most of the female characters are silly and act like they don't have control over anything, although that may be made worse by the breathy way the narrator voices them. But I like this series, Mrs. Pollifax and the stories. This one is exciting because you can imagine the consequences of getting caught doing anything you shouldn't in China at the time this was written.
A 50-something who loves sci-fi, cozy mysteries, thrillers, an occasional romance, and any genre if it is a good story. And especially if it makes me laugh! No vampires or zombies though - these are NOT sci-fi!
Mrs. Pollifax goes to China - and manages to make friends even with the police! She is supposed to help another agent free someone from a labor camp and get them out of the country. A tall order, but Mrs. P is determined not to let Carstairs down. Mayhem and mirth ensue. And Mrs. Pollifax, as usual, goes far beyond her mission objectives. Well worth the credit!
Yes, Barbara Rosenblat is an excellent narrator and Dorthy Gilman writes quite well. However, this story line just wasn't as engaging for me as the first 5 books in the series. Typically, the story revolves around the spying task Mrs. P. is involved in but it is the other characters that she interacts with that makes the stories so likeable for me. In China station,I just could not become interested in any of the other characters. There was also a scene that was a little too gory for my tastes. I prefer the least amount of graphic detail when it comes to violence.
How can it be? This is my very favorite of Mrs. Pollifax's adventures. Why? It's not some love of her destination (I was actually a bit skeptical) but the fabulous characters in this exciting tale. My only complaint: too short!
I first read Mrs. Pollifax stories in Readers Digest Condensed Books as a child. Always easy to read, with an adorable lead character and unbelievable story lines. Yet, I learned things! I can't say enough about them.
As for the reader of these books...she is simply the best reader I have heard. Her characterization so, the voices, her style all capture Emily Pollifax and her gang perfectly. I'm a huge fan!
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