The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
Series: Mrs. Pollifax, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,660 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Editor's Pick

Smart, snappy, cozy series with sublime narration
"Barbara Rosenblat is one of my favorite narrators. Nowhere does she elevate a story more than with The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax. Dorothy Gilman started the series in 1970—the story of a garden-club wife from New Brunswick, NJ, who joins the CIA in a madcap series of events—and Barbara Rosenblat narrates a dozen titles, all available at Audible. If you love John D. Macdonald or Rhys Bowen, may I suggest your next audio binge?"
Christina H., Audible Editor

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

What a Fun Adventure!

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.

70 people found this helpful

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Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!

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.

126 people found this helpful

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Fabulous!

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.

29 people found this helpful

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Delightful!

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.

20 people found this helpful

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Excellent story by an excellent narrator

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.

40 people found this helpful

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Miss Julia Does Bond

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.

53 people found this helpful

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I do love this espionage series - MAGNIFICENT!!

I could no believe my good fortune when I found Dorothy Gilman's The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax among the titles available in Audible's February first in a series sale. The 14 novel Mrs. Pollifax espionage series was written between the years 1966 and 2000. This novel has been adapted in movies in 1971 (Rosalind Russel starring) and in 1999 (Angela Lansbury starring). I've read the entire series, but having the fabulous voice of British actress Barbara Rosenblat narrate in her Americanized accent is a special treat.

It starts when a New Jersey widow in her mid-60's with two grown children and three grandchildren named Emily Pollifax is advised by her doctor to find something she really would like to do to keep busy. So, of course, she goes to Washington DC and volunteers to work for the CIA. The novels in the Mrs. Pollifax series are fast paced, contain a lot of action, and are very suspenseful. They are also a fascinating mixture of strong intellectual reasoning and naivete on the part of Mrs. Pollifax.

The Mrs. Polifax espionage novels are not as intense as Mitch Rapp, Dewey Andras, Court Gentry, Jack Ryan, Pike Logan, or Scot Harvath espionage novels, but they are reasonably intense while also being fun.

21 people found this helpful

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I wish my mother was in the CIA

I bought this book because it was on sale. Typically I would not purchase a book like this because I am a 50 year old man, but I enjoyed it. Somewhat silly at times, but always fun. So many CIA/Spy thrillers have the 40 year kung fu master who can use any weapon know to man, jump in a helicopter and fly it, and can hack any computer known to man. Not Mrs Pollifax. She can barely walk 5 miles, but manages to get out of trouble because no one would ever see her as a threat. Hey, who would ever expect their mother or grandmother of being a CIA agent?Again, kind of silly but it works. Although I hate to characterize this a a "chick" book, I would see where any woman over 50 would enjoy this. I know it's probably not fair to stereotype this book, I do believe am elderly audience would identify with this.

43 people found this helpful

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Unexpected Mrs. Polifax is an unexpected pleasure

If you could sum up The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax in three words, what would they be?

A listening pleasure

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax?

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.

Have you listened to any of Barbara Rosenblat???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book is a journey, as Mrs. Pollifax makes friends in the most unlikely places.

Any additional comments?

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.

12 people found this helpful

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great!

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 :)

25 people found this helpful

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  • Emily
  • 05-09-18

Lots of fun

We listened to this in the evenings and the whole family enjoyed it. Especially the 13 year old!