Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax Mysteries is the next in my series of most popular and recommended Cozies. Before I begin, I have to give this disclaimer: this series is not really about a Cozy Mystery sleuth. Rather, Mrs. Pollifax is a woman from New Jersey who while in her 60s is bored after losing her husband and who volunteers with the CIA to be a spy. So the books are really more in the line of spy novels with some strongly Cozy elements.
In The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, the series begins on a strong note with Mrs. Pollifax becoming a CIA courier whose mission was supposed to be a simple job to pick up some information in Mexico City. The book was first published way back in 1966 which was right in the middle of the Cold War, so there are plenty of potential adversaries who could be very interested in the information that Mrs. Pollifax is supposed to bring back home. Needless to say, the mission turns out to be a bit more difficult and complicated than it was supposed to be!
Mrs. Pollifax is a delightful character who is a resourceful person who can talk, charm, and sometimes shoot herself out of jam after jam. She has a way about her that is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, of course because of her age, but also because of her unassuming demeanor backed up by extraordinary intelligence and wit.
I recently finished re-reading this first book of the series, which for me was actually listening to the audio book. I decided to re-listen to it mainly because the Audible version is narrated by the wonderful Barbara Rosenblat. She is one of my very favorite narrators. I know I have talked about her before, but I just have to say that she brings the books she narrates so much to life that listening to them seems like watching movies. (And, as I have mentioned in the past, originally, I listened to all of the Mrs. Pollifax books. My library actually had the cassettes. >>> That’s how long it has been since I listened to them!)
Speaking of movies, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax has been made into two movies, Mrs. Pollifax-Spy in 1970 starring the delightful Rosalind Russell, and The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax starring the also delightful Angela Lansbury in a 1999 made-for-television version >> I don’t believe I have seen this version.
Mrs. Pollifax is one of my very favorite Cozy Mystery characters even while not being a traditional Cozy Mystery sleuth who solves murder mysteries.
If you’re interested in other entries about some highly recommended Cozy Mystery series, you can see them on the Most Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.