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Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station (1983)

by Dorothy Gilman

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6301115,406 (3.79)37
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The elderly Mrs. Pollifax once more leaves her home on an espionage mission; this time she poses as a tourist on a guided trip in newly opened China. Her mission is to make contact with a dissident and help spirit him out of the country. Along on the tour is an inexperienced second spy, young and undertaking his first mission, but his identity is not revealed to Mrs. Pollifax.

I remember enjoying these a long time ago (thirty years ago?!) and so had picked this one up at a sale somewhere for a bit of nostalgia. It was still laugh out loud funny and had a variety of great characters, but also struck me as very naïve and highly coincidental spy work.

Great cozy comfort read, though. I wouldn't rule out picking up another if I see it. ( )
1 vote streamsong | Jun 8, 2016 |
The sixth book in this cozy mystery series was written while the Cold War was ongoing and China was emerging from isolation. I liked the characters, the mystery behind the operation, and the descriptions. One situation was quite jarring for me, but then the series does have some dependence on Mrs. Pollifax's good luck.

You'll need to have read the earlier books in the series to fully enjoy this one. I knocked it down a half star for the jarring situation. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jan 22, 2016 |
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station is the sixth in the Mrs. Pollifax series, which centers on a grandmother in New Jersey who joins the CIA. In this adventure, Mrs. Pollifax must go to China and help rescue Mr. X from a forced labor camp. The CIA signs her on with an American tour group where eventually she will meet another CIA operative. He or she will only reveal himself to Mrs. Pollifax after she’s made contact with an intermediary who can locate the camp. In the meantime, Mrs. Pollifax and the reader try to guess which of the six other Americans on tour is the secret operative.

The plot thickens when Mrs. Pollifax suspects that her bags have been searched and that she’s been followed on a secret nightly reconnaissance outing. This being a Cold War-era book, the Soviets are trying to get to Mr. X before the Americans do and it's up to Mrs. Pollifax to navigate this dangerous terrain with decorum, dignity and charm. If that doesn't work, she's also a brown belt in karate!

This series is always filled with adventure, suspense and remain a fun, light mystery sure to entertain just about everyone who likes the “cozy” genre. The reader will be swept away by the adventure, humor and intrigue, all the while learning about the customs and history of foreign lands.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Better than most in the series, Mrs. Polifax seems to come into her own on this trip. In this one, she still stretches the reader's imagination a bit, but in a more plausible way. Hard to quite believe the Chinese interrogators, but by the end of the book the reader can't possibly expect anything more. ( )
  kaulsu | Oct 14, 2015 |
It's 1983, and access to China is still very limited for outsiders. But Mrs. Pollifax, grandmother and secret agent for the CIA, is being sent in by Carstairs and Bishop. Her mission: to help another agent make contact with a Chinese prisoner and get him out of the country before the KGB gets to him first. Fortunately, a tour group provides a good cover story, and Mrs. Pollifax makes the perfect tourist. Here's hoping she will return to tell the tale.

This installment takes a bit longer to set up than other books in the series, but it is enjoyable to see all the tour group members interact and try to guess along with Mrs. Pollifax who her contact is (she has not been told beforehand). The second half is very tense and the suspense makes it almost too painful to read on, but of course you read on anyway because you have to know what happens next. And there are doses of the familiar: the Carstairs and Bishop scene where they give her her mission follows the usual template, and Mrs. Pollifax is her unflappable and unexpected self throughout. Recommended if you've already started reading the series. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 30, 2014 |
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Mrs. Pollifax sat in Carstairs' office with a cup of coffee in one hand and a sandwich in the other, her hat an inverted bowl of blue felt with such a cockeyed twist to its brim that Bishop guessed it had been frequently sat on and squashed.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449208400, Mass Market Paperback)

"Absorbing and worthwhile...You won't want to put the book down"
PORTLAND TELEGRAM
Once again, Mrs. Pollifax, the cheerful little woman with the flyaway white hair and a penchant for old hats is plunged headfirst into another hair-raising CIA mission. Posing as a tourist in China, Emily Pollifax meets the sinister challenges of the Orient to safeguard a treasure for the CIA...and all but loses her life in the bargain.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:21 -0400)

Mrs. Emily Pollifax of New Brunswick, NJ goes as a tourist to China for the CIA. She must act as cover for a CIA agent she is not permitted to know, with the ultimate aim of extricating Mr. X, a political prisoner in China.

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