Saturday 8 January 2022



Synopsis/blurb ....

A former CIA operative-turned-art-dealer waits in Italy, wounded and in hiding, for the cavalry-and, according to his SOS, only Mrs. Pollifax will do.

This latest assignment for Mrs Pollifax seems a snap.

She just has to shoot some pictures at a quiet funeral outside Washington and take them to Sicily, where her old friend Farrell, a former CIA agent turned art dealer, anxiously awaits them.

But Mrs P.’s welcoming committee in Palermo includes a most unlikely CIA agent and several unseen enemies. With mysterious forces hot after them, she and Farrell scurry for safety to a fortified villa, where the chatelaine is almost as unnerving as the dangers she’s protecting them from.

Armed with only an open mind and a little karate, Mrs Pollifax is the most unlikely and lovable of international spies.

Mrs Pollifax and the Second Thief is the tenth in the 14 book long series from Dorothy Gilman and my fourth outing with the unlikeliest of CIA operatives. I'm glad this wasn't the first one I tried, as it would undoubtedly have been the last. Truth be told, this one bored me. The others all came off as fresh, amusing, unlikely but nevertheless entertaining. This one just didn't do anything for me.

Italy, Pollifax and Farrell again, a bit of romance with a young agent posted abroad, a countryside location, some antics with art and robbery, and forgeries, and a confusing cast of characters. 

Maybe I didn't pay enough attention. Maybe the author had an off day and it's one of the weaker books in the series. Maybe I'm just a grumpy old man and whatever mood I was in at the time, no book would have tickled my fancy. Maybe I tried to read too many off these books, too quickly and too close together and I got fatigued.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted and I may revisit the series at some point in the future.

2.5 from 5

Read - (listened to) November, 2021
Published - 1993
Page count - 169 (6 hrs 9 mins)
Source - Audio Books
Format - Audible


  1. Sorry hear that this one didn't really keep your interest, Col. I do like the Mrs. Pollifax series, and I agree that in general, the stories are interesting, with a fresh take on the spy business. But not every book will hit the mark. As you say, perhaps it's best you didn't start your exploration of the series with this one...

    1. Margot, thanks. I'm realistic and understand that not every book I read will hit the spot, but I didn't loathe it and there were bits I suppose that sustained me through until the end. The writing wasn't poor or objectionable, just not enough story there to satisfy me.

  2. Col, I don't think I made it this far in the series. I remember I hit a point where they just were not fun anymore. But I am interesting in rereading some of the early ones.

    1. Tracy, I'm glad I discovered her work and this series, but I might be done with it now.