As I am a big fan of Jessica Fletcher’s work, on page and screen, my mom recommended I try out Mrs. Pollifax. Another senior citizen who doesn’t let age define her, Gilman created a very lovable detective with this series. Even if the plots are outrageous.
Not in like a bad way; there’s nothing obscene or objectionable with the plot. It’s just so unlikely that I was shocked by the ending.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Roughly 13 books earlier, Emily Pollifax is so bored with life, she’s driven to her wit’s end. That is, until she reads an article about an actress who started her career later in life and is inspired to follow a life long dream. Join the CIA.
She applies and through a misunderstanding, is sent on a mission to pick up an important package in Mexico. She proves her capabilities as a spy under capture from the Socialist Republic of Albania and becomes a regular agent. Traveling the globe, helping defeat the bad guys with her cleverness and resourcefulness, and making friends all the while. It’s exactly the type of read I would pick up for a day at the beach, or a flight back home to Texas.
I haven’t traveled in ages, but Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist was like a trip unto it’s own!
Mrs. Pollifax agrees to accompany former agent John Sebastian Farrell (hell of a name) to Jordan to pick up a manuscript from a Iraqi novelist through a contact. Only the contact doesn’t show up and instead Mrs. Pollifax stumbles across a body.
There’s also a strange group of men who are following her and her traveling companions. One of those companions, their guide Youseff, invites them to visit his grandfather who just so happens to be a respected sheik. No big deal.
They make their away across the desert and somehow end up with like, multiple dangerous groups trying to track them down. Like seriously, terrorist, Iraqi secret police, the Jordanian police. They said the manuscript was important but this felt a little like overkill.
Here’s where things get outrageous.
To escape these various forces, they take shelter in a very conveniently placed abandoned fort.
Are you familiar with the deus ex machina, or God of the machine, concept? I learned about it in high school and according to the internet the definition is:
A person or thing that appears or is introduced into a situation suddenly and unexpectedly and provides an artificial or contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty.
This is exactly how I would describe the ending of Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it was just such an unexpected and rather unrealistic ending that I was like, what the heck.
Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t read this book or the whole series! But I would recommend knowing exactly what you’re getting into before you jump in. And if you’re looking for a more hard hitting and really intense mystery, I recommend the dark and twisty Snowman.
Speaking of mysteries; here are some of my favorite thriller/mystery movies. Because I know you’re all dying to know.
- Knives Out
- Girl on the Train (it isn’t the book but it was still enjoyable)
- Prisoners (SPOOKY)
- Along Came a Spider (another adaptation)
- Shutter Island
- Zodiac (Hi again Jake)