Book review: Mrs. Pollifax on Safari

Mrs. Pollifax on Safari


By Dorothy Gilman

Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Publisher: Recorded Books

Pub. Date: 1992

6.75 hours

Mrs Pollifax on Safari

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

2013 Audio Book Challenge      

2013 TBR Pile Cozies


Rating system


It is really time to rediscover Mrs. Emily Pollifax, who’s been called Miss Marple’s cousin. She’s a very active grand-mothermember of a garden-club, growing roses and orchids, and practicing karate. She still feels bored however, so ends up going one day to the CIA to see if by any chance she could work for them. A grand-mother always carrying flowery hats, she definitely does not have the regular profile of a spy, and can so be very helpful.

In each book of the series, she is thus sent to special missions in a different country.

In Mrs. Pollifax on Safari, Emily is sent to Zambia. The CIA knows that an assassin nicknames Aristotle is preparing a coup against the president of that country, but they only have one clue: that he will meet with an accomplice on a safari, to discuss the details on their plans. So Emily’s mission is simple: to go on that safari, and pretending to take lots of pictures of the wild animals around her, to take pictures of all the members of the safari, to try to identify the future murderer.

As in all her previous missions, things do not turn out that simple.

People on the safari seem rather nice, but she quickly discovers that her first film has been stolen, which could confirm that the assassin in indeed among them, but also that he has already identified her and understood why she’s there!

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. Apart from the smart plot, with good twists and turns, Gilman does a great job at describing the country, its landscape and animals, and also the whole political situation, in Zambia itself, and with its neighbors, such as Rhodesia. There’s a good setting about independent movements and the apartheid.

The author has also a nice small set of characters to work with, and each person on this safari is quite colorful, and complex enough to make you wonder for each of them if he or seven she could be Aristotle.
There’s particularly a man who seems to be keeping a close eye on Emily: is he the guy? or a friend? Well, there is a good surprise for you at the end of the book, as well as for Mrs. Pollifax!

Thoughts on the audiobook:
Barbara Rosenblat is the narrator for each book of the series. Her voice fits perfectly the character of Mrs. Pollifax, in fact I could no longer imagine Emily with a different voice!
She has this great mix of good nature, calm, and mastery, but also excitement at discovering new adventure, and fear in facing unexpected dangers.

If you like cozy mysteries with a good plot, if you like traveling to other countries, you really need to meet Mrs. Pollifax. I highly recommend the audiobook over the hardcopy.


Mrs Emily Pollifax goes on safari for the CIA. She will photograph her companions – one is an international assassin sent to kill the president of Zambia. Somebody steals her film. Rhodesian terrorists kidnap her. Again humor and the unexpected help white-haired karate student Emily face fatal danger and remember the value of life and liberty.. [Goodreads]



Dorothy Gilman started writing when she was 9. At 11, she competed against 10 to 16-year-olds in a story contest and won first place. Dorothy worked as an art teacher and telephone operator before becoming an author. She wrote children’s stories for more than ten years and then began writing adult novels about Mrs. Pollifax–a retired grandmother who becomes a CIA agent. The Mrs. Pollifax series made Dorothy famous. While her stories nourish people’s thirst for adventure and mystery, Dorothy knew about nourishing the body as well. She used to live on a farm in Nova Scotia, where she grew medicinal herbs. Her knowledge of herbs comes through in many of her stories, including A Nun in the Closet, in which a nun treats a man’s wounds with the herbs growing nearby. Many of Dorothy’s books, including Caravan, feature strong women having adventures around the world. Dorothy spent much of her life in Connecticut and Maine. She died at age 88 of complications of Alzheimer’s disease. [Goodreads]

And there’s a great Mrs. Pollifax fan club website!




Teaser Tuesdays (Oct. 22)

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays 

is a weekly bookish meme,
hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Today, my Teasers are from

Mrs Pollifax on SafariClick on the book cover to know more about it
I’m actually listening to it

“I don’t know why I’m telling you all this-probably because I’ll burst if I don’t tell someone, and you look so-so human-but Africa’s having the most tremendous impact on me.  Ever since we arrived I’ve been having the strangest dreams at night, and seeing life and myself in the most astonishing perspective.  This country’s returning me to something I lost, it’s disinhibiting me.”

“Oh, if only there were some way to free our hands!“

”What then?“ he asked, looking at her with amusement.

”Well, you see I’m rather good at karate.“

This startled him but there was no overlooking his gleeful appreciation of this. ”Damned astonishing woman,“ he said.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

(make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away!
You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too,
so that other TT participants can add the book
to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!