Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.
©1970 Dorothy Gilman (P)1989 Recorded Books, LLC
My dear fellow readers: I strongly recommend this audiobook to anyone who loves to hear a good story! Dorothy Gilmore writes a fascinating story about 60 year old Mrs. Pollifax who becomes a CIA courier... Say what!? Yes, and it is so riveting that I have BOTH the audiobooks AND the books -- and I love listening or reading EVERYTIME! Want a great book... the Pollifax series of stories are AWESOME!!
Any audiobooks narrated by Barbara Rosenblatt are awesome with her gift of hundreds of voices and accents. She stays true to Mrs.Pollifax's voice in each recording. You just fall in love with that spunky little lady with the outrageous hats. Unfortunately not all of the Pollifax books are read by Ms. Rosenblatt and are totally uninspiring! So watch out who the narrator is for these books.
I first heard about Mrs. Pollifax 20 years ago. Now that I am 55, I found it hugely entertaining that a 58 year old woman convinced the CIA to let her be a spy. This series is well worth the time. You'll be disappointed, though, to find out two of the books are not available at Audible. Request those at your local library. They are number 5 and 6, I think.
Most series mysteries leave me either impatient for more action, irritated as protagonists hop in and out of bed as if no one is trying to kill them, or wondering how the insubstantial protagonists could leap from one suspension of disbelief to another and expect any rational mind to follow.
Mrs. Pollifax, however, could sell wool to a shepherd and entice him to follow her into town where she would instruct him not only in how to knit, but have him gladly finishing a sweater for her to wear that very day.
Usually, I also tire when action scene is followed by more suspense, more trouble, more questions. However, Gilman deftly balances anxiety and hope, not only in the plot line, but in the overarching tone and philosophy of the book. I will soon purchase the sequel.
Mrs. Pollifax walking into CIA headquarters and asking for a job as a spy is an amusing scene. When her interviewer tells her that the CIA generally comes looking for spies rather than the other way around, she replies that they haven't found her though they've had over 60 years to do so. Her adventures are just barely outside the believable, but we are not reading a spy novel that could be true. Readers who quibble over this are missing the point and the sheer fun. The plot is well thought out and keeps you interested and guessing. This is a light-hearted yet suspenseful romp, not a Tom Clancy novel.
Despite the narrator making Mrs. Pollifax's voice seem to be perhaps 90 instead of in her 69's, Barbara Rosenblatt nails the characters and differentiates the voices wonderfully. Narration is among the better performances on Audible that I have heard.
I loved this book! It is just so fun! I love Mrs. Polifax and totally imagined Angela Lansbury or someone of that caliber playing the part! It is just the right amount of light, yet suspenseful! Please.....someone make a movie but make sure you hire just the right lead. For example NOT Angelina Jolie (as they have for Scarpetta.ugh!)
Off to download the second book now :)
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
This is a delightful tale of a depressed older lady who begins to think that her life no longer holds meaning. She decides that what she would really like to do is be a spy. The tale unfolds and Mrs. Pollifax has the adventure of a lifetime. I just loved this story... I found it fun and yet, poignant. I felt that Barbara Rosenblat did a wonderful job of doing Mrs. Pollifax's voice. I would like to see some sequels down the road and follow Mrs. Pollifax on more adventures. Bravo Dorothy Gilman.
This is the second Mrs. Polifax book I've listened to. I have mixed feelings about it, which explains my 3-star rating. It's totally ridiculous. A 60-ish, untrained widow who is bored with her life, VOLUNTEERS herself to the C.I.A. to be a spy, and what's more, they sign her up!! Never happen, of course! But.... remind yourself - this IS fiction!! So once you get past that fact, you start listening, and you keep saying to yourself, "this is almost to the point of being dumb." The other agents she meets actually accept her and work with her, instead of telling her to go home to New Jersey. Bottom line is that it's a nice, albeit silly story, with no foul language and no sexual situations. Would I listen to another? I might, but I'd rent it for free from my library.
A listening pleasure
At the beginning of the book Mrs. Pollifax thinks her life is over because she is a widow and her life has no purpose. She comes to realize that she is still a very important part of a lot of lives and though over sixty, still has a lot to contribute.
Barbara Rosenblat is able to portray characters of all ages, both genders, and with a variety of accents so that it is easy to follow the different characters and to know who is talking.
The whole book is a journey, as Mrs. Pollifax makes friends in the most unlikely places.
Mrs. Pollifax is a delightful, developing character. Even though at times she seems (as she is) from another world than the one we live in now, she adapts and uses her life experience to solve the problems she encounters. She is a good lesson for any baby boomer.
I read the Mrs. Pollifax series years ago and loved listening to them as audiobooks. When I grow up I want to be Mrs. P. Barbara Rosenblat reads Mrs. P in an older voice than I had previously imagined, but she is still wonderful. Try to read them - at least the first three - in order: The Unexpected Mrs. P, the Amazing Mrs. P and The Ellusive Mrs. P. Your credits will not be wasted.
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