I love the Mrs. Pollifax book. They are, as I've said before, some of my favourite comfort reads. When I need an old friend, this senior citizen CIA spy is one of my favourite companions.
This particular Mrs. Pollifax book, however, is not one of my favourites. The characters she meets don't jump out at me the way they do in other books, and Mrs. Pollifax herself feels a little flat.
Was Dorothy Gilman trying to figure out how to deal with Mrs. Pollifax now that she's married? If she was, I thankfully know it gets better from here. And I love Cyrus, her new husband.
In this book, on their holiday to Thailand, after Emily Pollifax is recovering from her most difficult mission yet, she is asked to do a simple exchange and then enjoy herself. Of course, nothing goes right, her contact is dead, and Cyrus is kidnapped. The rest of the novel is the search for Cyrus through the wilds.
Mrs. Pollifax has two very endearing qualities. She is genuine and makes friends everywhere she goes, and she is persistent and comes up with inventive solutions. Where this book falls apart is that we still get the former, but lack the latter.
She is just as good as ever at collecting friends along the way, although those friends do not stand out the way they have in other books. But, despite the fact that she's trying to find her husband, Emily is pretty much along for the ride. She herself isn't figuring out ways to help Cyrus. Other people are doing that for her. When she meets a mysterious man out in the jungle who ends up poisoned, she gets to wait with him while others go for help.
In short, she isn't the resourceful, dogged Mrs. Pollifax I know and love. She's still friendly, but she's not thinking.
And so, while this is still entertaining, it's one of my least favourite Mrs. Pollifax books.