She was the author of a series of novels about Mrs. Pollifax, an elderly widow who becomes a CIA agent.
Other novels by Dorothy Gilman include The Clairvoyant Countess and sequel Kaleidoscope, about a psychic descended from the Russian nobility who befriends a policeman and helps him in his investigations; and The Tightrope Walker, about an emotionally-scarred antique dealer who gains self-confidence and a variety of new friends while investigating a cry for help hidden inside one of her antiques.
She received the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award in 2010.
Works by Dorothy Gilman with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Dorothy Gilman provide examples of:
- Defictionalization: In The Tightrope Walker, the protagonist's favorite novel as a child turns out to be unexpectedly relevant to the plot. The Maze in the Heart of the Castle was fictional, but few years later, Gilman actually wrote it.
- "Help! Help! Trapped in Title Factory!": In The Tightrope Walker, the plot starts when the owner of a second-hand store finds a "Please help" message hidden in one of the objects in her store by someone being held prisoner in the house the object came from.
- Past Experience Nightmare: In The Tightrope Walker, Amelia is plagued with nightmares related to her traumatic childhood.
- Write Who You Know: (in-universe) In The Tightrope Walker, the manuscript of an author's last novel, lost at her death and subsequently rediscovered, turns out to contain characters based on her relatives, and so keenly observed that their fates in the novel foreshadow events that occurred after the novel was completed.