All 14 Mrs. Pollifax Books in Order by Dorothy Gilman

The Mrs. Pollifax books in order by Dorothy Gilman are the perfect cozy mysteries. Emily Pollifax is an endearing protagonist who is frequently underestimated for her age and appearance. But that allows her to be the perfect part-time CIA spy.

Even though her looks are deceiving, Mrs. Pollifax always ends up in more danger than expected with her missions and needs to use her guile to escape the sticky situations.

About Dorothy Gilman

The author of the Mrs. Pollifax books is Dorothy Gilman, who sadly passed away in 2012 at the age of 88. Her family announced that her death was due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Gilman’s legacy within the world of literature is the titular character of her beloved cozy mystery series: Mrs. Emily Pollifax. Her protagonist is a grandmother in her 60s who belongs to her local garden club, but also has a strong desire to contribute to her country in some way.

As a result, Pollifax ends up as a part-time secret agent for the CIA. She travels the world on allegedly simple missions that always end up more convoluted and dangerous than bargained for. However, Mrs. Pollifax also always ends up outsmarting her antagonists.

While there has been a recent surge in the cozy mystery genre, and cozy media in general, series like Mrs. Pollifax demonstrate how long-lasting and persevering this genre is.

Many see the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, as a champion of cozy mystery long before the descriptor existed. With the personalities of her characters and the depiction of small little villages and towns across England and beyond, there is a sense of whimsy imbued in her writing which evokes that cozy atmosphere.

She was also writing during the Golden Age of detective crime fiction, which we may be experiencing a second wave of with books focusing on the thrill of the investigation rather than the grisly details of the murder.

More recent media which evokes such similar atmosphere include movies like Knives Out and TV shows like Only Murders in the Building. Of course, Murder, She Wrote, is a classic example of a cozy mystery that bears many similarities to the Mrs. Pollifax books.

Mrs. Pollifax Books in Order

The best way to read the Mrs Pollifax books in order is by following the publication order of the series. Each book does contain its own mystery and adventure that Mrs. Pollifax navigates throughout the course of the novel, but the publication order does match the chronological order.

There are recurring characters throughout the series which makes the publication order the best way to read the books. As well, if you don’t want any spoilers for Mrs. Pollifax’s character journey, then the publication order will provide the best reading experience.

  1. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax / Mrs. Pollifax, Spy (1966)
  2. The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax (1970)
  3. The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax (1971)
  4. A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax (1973)
  5. Mrs. Pollifax on Safari (1976)
  6. Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station (1983)
  7. Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha (1985)
  8. Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle (1988)
  9. Mrs. Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish (1990)
  10. Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief (1993)
  11. Mrs. Pollifax Pursued (1995)
  12. Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer (1996)
  13. Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist (1997)
  14. Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled (2000)

How many Mrs. Pollifax movies have been made?

There have been two Mrs. Pollifax adaptations throughout the years. The first adaptation was a movie in 1971: Mrs. Pollifax – Spy.

It stars Rosalind Russell as Emily Pollifax and Darren McGavin as Farrell. It adapts the first book in the series and the screenplay was written by Russell originally under the pseudonym C.A. McKnight. The movie was Russell’s final film.

The next adaptation came in 1999 and stars Angela Lansbury as Emily Pollifax. Starring opposite her is Thomas Ian Griffith as Farrell. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax was a TV movie which first aired in 1999.

A Summary of Mrs. Pollifax Books in Order

Below you will find the summaries to the first ten Mrs Pollifax books in order. If you have never read the series before, this will help explain a little bit more about the scope of the series, although there may be minor spoilers in the later summaries. However, if you have already read the series, this will be a great way to revisit and remind yourself of everything Mrs. Pollifax gets up to throughout some of the series.

The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax Books in Order

1. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Mrs. Emily Pollifax is a widow and grandmother in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She attends her local Garden Club meetings, but it has grown tiresome and she wants to do something good for her country. So, she decides to become a CIA agent.

The assignments appears to be safe with a quick trip to Mexico City, but matters quickly go awry. Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in a Cold War situation, but her country’s enemies find themselves likewise embroiled with one unbelievably feisty lady.

The Amazing Mrs Pollifax Dorothy Gilman

2. The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax

Emily Pollifax quickly forgot about her afternoon Garden Club tea when she answers the phone on a Sunday morning. That’s because the last time she heard the voice on the other end of the line, it sent her on a wild journey with secret agents and high adventure.

Now the man from the CIA is asking if she will leave on a mission that will take her halfway across the world. Immediately. How could Mrs. Pollifax possibly refuse?

The Elusive Mrs Pollifax Book Cover

3. The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax

A desperate plea for help is sent to the CIA while Mrs. Pollifax is waiting for her night-blooming cereus to do its thing. She barely gets the chance to see it bloom, however, because Mr. Carstairs is on his way to recruit her for another daring mission.

Passports and identity papers are desperately need to get across the border. As a result, the most unlikely of all international spies is wearing a beautiful new hat, which is perfect for hiding eight forged passports.

A Palm for Mrs Pollifax Dorothy Gilman

4. A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax

Between Garden Club, karate, yoga, and the occasional secret spy mission, Mrs. Pollifax is leading an incredibly busy life. The current mission that Mr. Carstairs has sent her on is to a famous health resort in Switzerland where the world’s intelligence agents have gathered.

She needs to track down a missing package of plutonium. The missing parcel contains just enough plutonium to make an atomic bomb. Thankfully it’s a mission well-suited to Mrs. Pollifax’s talents of sniffing out people’s secrets, but it’s not until she meets Robin, a young jewel thief, that her new adventure really begins…

Mrs Pollifax on Safari Mrs Pollifax Books in Order

5. Mrs. Pollifax on Safari

The CIA has sent Mrs. Pollifax on a safari for her next mission and her objective is to find out which fellow traveller is an international assassin targeting the president of Zambia. She was told to take plenty of pictures on the safari and then the CIA would be able to figure which one was their man.

Except it isn’t so simple because after she started taking photos, someone stole her film. Then, she was kidnapped by Rhodesian terrorists. And after that, well…

Mrs Pollifax on the China Station Book Cover

6. Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station

Mrs. Pollifax is posing as a tourist once again to hide her actions for the CIA. This time she is traveling to China to safeguard a treasure for the CIA along the Orient. But there will be sinister challenges along the way that will threaten her life.

Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha Dorothy Gillman

7. Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha

Emily Pollifax is packed and ready to go back to China. A young agent there, Sheng Ti, has all the answers about what is going on at Feng Imports, which is a sinister one-time agency front.

Mrs. Pollifax is the only one who Sheng trusts. So, she is the only one who can possibly stop what turns out to be a frightening and ominous plot with drugs, stolen diamonds, a famous cat burglar turned Interpol agent, a mysterious psychic, and murder.

Mrs Pollifax and the Golden Triangle Book Cover

8. Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle

While Mrs. Pollifax wants to give up spying, she can’t help but agree to carry a small object to an agent in Thailand and get one in exchange. But the moment she lands, she finds that her contact is dead and her husband is kidnapped.

The next thing she knows, she is tramping through the Thai countryside with a curious fellow. He may be trying to help her find her husband, or he may have more sinister plans.

Mrs Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish Mrs Pollifax Books in Order

9. Mrs. Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish

The next mission that Mrs. Pollifax needs to go on should be incredibly simple and easy. She just needs to pretend to be the aunt of an inept CIA agent who is trying to confirm the identities of seven undercover agents in Morocco, while also preventing him from making a complete fool of himself.

But things immediately go horribly wrong when their first informant is murdered after Mrs. Pollifax and her associate identify themselves. Even worse, Mrs. Pollifax has a feeling that her colleague is not who he says he is.

Even though she is by herself, she decides to try and check out the remaining informants on her own. She perseveres even after she learns that one of the original informants has been replaced by a deadly imposter.

Mrs Pollifax and the Second Thief Dorothy Gilman

10. Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief

The assignment should be quick and easy. Mrs. Pollifax needs to photograph a funeral outside Washington and then deliver the pictures to an old friend in Sicily. But nothing ever goes simply with her assignments.

This one quickly turns lethal. Her welcoming committee in Palermo includes an unlikely CIA agent and several unseen enemies.

Mrs. Pollifax and Farrell, a former CIA agent turned art dealer, are also being watched during their rendezvous. As a result, they seek shelter in a fortified country villa, but the chatelaine is almost as unnerving as the dangers lurking outside.

Final thoughts on Mrs Pollifax books in order

The Mrs Pollifax books in order capture the same cozy mystery atmosphere as Murder, She Wrote except across an international setting. Emily Pollifax is endearing and constantly underestimated. While she always ends up in more danger than anticipated, she never backs down and manages to outsmart her opponents time and time again.

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