Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist

By Dorothy Gilman

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"[Matronly martial artist and spy Mrs. Pollifax] ... is on loan to her retired CIA friend Farrell. Her bag lady act is the first phase of a mission to the Middle East: to smuggle out of Jordan the final manuscript of the dissident Iraqi novelist, Dib Assen, recently murdered in an Iraqi prison. Allegedly fiction, the script encodes the shocking truth of Saddam Hussein's reign.

"Allah willing, Farrell is to rendezvous near Amman with a man called Ibrahim, who will deliver the manuscript. All Mrs. P. has to do is look as much like a tourist as possible to deflect suspicion from her "cousin," Farrell.

"But hardly are the two airborne when the coils of Middle Eastern intrigue begin to unwind. Mrs. Pollifax's seatmate is not the affable Arab businessman he seems and the little carved plaque he secretly stashes in her carry-on bag is not a mere souvenir. It is not imagination that persuades Mrs. P. that wherever they go she and Farrell are followed, even to the old castle where Farrell is to meet the mysteriously elusive Ibrahim."

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