After facing down hijackers on a flight to the Middle East and saving the lives of the passengers on board, a young American woman steps off the plane in Damascus in a blaze of celebrity and disappears. The CIA believes Amanda Pym was kidnapped, possibly murdered.
Masquerading as Amanda Pym’s worried aunt, Mrs. Pollifax begins her determined search, slipping through Damascus’s crooked streets and crowded souks . . . and trekking deep into the desert. Yet she is shadowed by deadly enemies, whose sinister agenda threatens not only Mrs. P. but the fragile stability of the entire Middle East. Only a miracle–or a brilliant counterplot– can forestall a disaster that will send shock waves around the world.
Patty Hearst syndrome, July 2, 2003 Reviewer: Mary E. Sibley from Carneys Point, NJ USA There is a question whether an American woman is alive or dead in Syria. The CIA summons Emily Pollifax and another free-lance hand, John Sebastian Farrell. They travel to Syria. It seems that rumors in the bazaar indicate that Amanda Pym, the person concerned, is still alive after having been kidnapped six weeks earlier. She had foiled some hijackers and entered a wrong car directly after the event when being interviewed by news organizations. When Mrs. Pollifax and Farrell arrives in Damascus and checks into the hotel, Mrs. Pollifax finds a note. She had been advised by her superior, Carstairs, that help could be expected. The note directs themn to go to the Citadel. Things really heat up as Farrell gets taken into police custory and Mrs. Pollifax, having been struck in the head with something, makes her way to an archaeological dig, a caravansary, to find the next clue. Traveling the following day in a borrowed land rover in search of the shepherd who may have seen Amanda Pym, Mrs. Pollifax and her guide, Joe Fleming, enter an area of the desert where snipers are boing trained. They find a burned American passport that may have belonged to Amada Pym. Farrell arrives at the camp reporting that he had been held by a nefarious group, not the police at all, who seemed to know everything about Amanda Pym. Determining to view the encampment at night, to try to see what the shepherd saw, they look through the binoculars and see Amanda Pym among the people in camouflage garb who were supposed to be snipers in training. Farrell comes to know more about Amanda Pym by piecing together pieces of her journal found in the vicinity of the burned passport. The means Mrs. Pollifax, Farrell, and Joe Fleming employ to separate Amanda Pym from the others I care not to disclose. I will say that the solution involves the aid of sheep and golden hamsters. The working out of the details both in Syria and elsewhere proves to be extremely exciting and delightful from the point of view of the reader.