A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax

A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax - Dorothy Gilman [These notes were made in 1987:]. I approached Mrs. Pollifax, a new detective for me, with the more curiosity because she had been recommended by a friend who does not often indulge in light reading. And indeed Mrs. Pollifax is a little off-beat for a detective; she shares with Miss Marple her age, sex, and boundless curiosity, but Mrs. Pollifax's intelligence is more straightforward, and she is considerably more effective physically in her rather more threatening world. One cannot imagine Miss Marple sliding down a rope, far less knocking a man out with a karate chop - Mrs. P. does both in this novel! She is, of course, American, which I suppose explains a lot. The plot is very up-to-date, dealing in murder only as a sort of side-effect to the even more serious crimes of stealing plutonium and destabilizing an African government. There is an evil sheik, an engaging young jewel-thief named Robin (one of the good guys), and a nervous intelligent young boy, son of one of the high-ups in the aforementioned African country. The novel is set in a health clinic/hotel in Switzerland, and a certain amount of it is concerned with the goings-on of Mrs. P's CIA bosses (presented as extremely nice and unsinister) and of InterPol. Mrs. Pollifax saves the day by substituting canned peaches for the plutonium. A pleasant read. I may try some more of these.