“As she passed the desk the engagement calendar caught her eye and she stopped to glance at it with a sense of ennui. This was Monday; on Tuesday she wheeled the bookcart at the hospital, on Wednesday she rolled bandages, on Thursday morning there was a meeting of the Art Association and in the afternoon she worked in the gift shop of the hospital. On Friday the Garden Club met, on Saturday morning she would have her hair trimmed, and in the afternoon Elise Wiggin would come for tea…”
Even with a full engagement calendar, Emily Pollifax is bored. So bored in fact, that one day while taking her geraniums up to the roof, she *almost* takes a flying leap to end it all …
“…and at the back of her mind lay the memory of last Monday when she had carried her geraniums to the roof of the apartment building and had stood at the edge of the parapet looking down, her mind searching for one good reason why she should not take a step forward into oblivion. And she had found none.”
What do you do when life holds no more excitement, purpose, or meaning? You join the CIA as a spy, of course.
“The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax” is full of the unexpected! A mistaken identity (at first) propels Emily Pollifax into the CIA where, once her true identity is unravelled, she is made use of after all.
Her first assignment is a very simple one; she is to act as courier in Mexico city, posing as a tourist. If Emily Pollifax has a strength (if there is more to this sixty-ish widow who wears flowers in her hat than meets the eye), it is that she does not always follow instructions. Due to her maturity and experience with raising a family, she follows her own impulses and judgment (the word ‘unconventional’ describes Emily to a tee!) This characteristic precipitates her into an adventure that takes her to a cell in Albania and from there, her adventures are just beginning.
This mystery kept me on my toes! I had to keep reading to discover whether Mrs. Pollifax will be left to languish in her cell in Albania, or somehow find a way to escape this remote mountain hideout.
“In the morning when Mrs. Pollifax awoke she realized at once that a fateful day was beginning. She lay and thought about this dispassionately, almost wonderingly, because to every life there eventually came a moment when one had to accept the fact that the shape, the pattern, the direction of the future was entirely out of one’s hands, to be decided unalterably by chance, by fate or by God. There was nothing to do but accept, and from this to proceed, doing the very best that could be done. Without knowing the end, reflected Mrs. Pollifax; like being wheeled into an operating room and wondering if one would ever see this or any other ceiling again. Twenty-four hours from now would she and Farrell be staring at these same stone walls, or would they be free, or would they even have survived to see that next day?”
A fast and pleasant read, I would describe “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax” as a cosy mystery; something to read in the afternoon on a rainy day with some hot tea, or on a Spring morning out on the lawn with a good cup of coffee at hand! (On to the next book in the series!)