oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen

Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax on Safari

I heard belatedly that author Dorothy Gilman died. So I've started re-reading the first of hers I ever read, Mrs. Pollifax on Safari, which remained one of my favorites. Mrs. Pollifax is an older woman, a widow, who lives in New Jersey and raises geraniums. In an earlier book, she decided she needed more excitement and volunteers with the CIA. Of course her simple courier job goes awry. By the time this book starts, she's begun to take karate lessons. She's delightful, with a belief in the niceness of all sorts of people. It's not a series for cynics.

I knew the Africa bits would be dated, but I confess I still find the book kind of charming. When she learns she's to go on safari, for instance, instantly she wants a cork helmet. Though, so far, the black characters in Africa have been less stereotypical than I feared.

Here's a non-Africa bit that I found hilarious in its datedness:

"Set up the computer, Bishop, will you? We'll run through the possibilities."

"It'll only take a minute, sir." Bishop walked over to the closet where the machine they referred to as the Monster was housed. He punched MASTER LIST, fiddled with knobs, fed it classifications like Africa, Zambia and Tourist and called to his superior. "Here you are, sir. Beginning with A, right down to Z."

"Always reminds me of a damn slot machine," growled Carstairs, gazing up at the screen with its myriads of blinking lights....
Tags: dorothy gilman, mystery
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