Anyone who has read her successful Lady Julia and Veronica Speedwell Series knows that her heroines are sophisticated and competent yet rooted in the Victorian Era. The ladies are anything but shrinking violets. But they would have never imagined a foursome like this!
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie first met when recruited by a shadowy, non-governmental agency called The Museum. The Museum was started by US and British former agents, disgruntled by so many Nazis who were allowed to escape justice after World War II. They had managed to clean up many of them before the seventies when they moved their efforts to more familiar, garden-variety tinpot dictators, drug dealers, murderers, and the like. The women became assassins, often working as a team, the first female team in Museum history. They each had their own specialty; Billie, for instance, is accomplished in hand-to-hand combat. Billie also tells the story in Killers of a Certain Age. They came from widely divergent backgrounds but naturally developed a close relationship, having kept themselves alive in dangerous circumstances. Now, they have all entered their sixties, and retirement beckons. The Museum wants to send them on a luxury cruise together as a thank-you with a retirement package meant to keep them in comfort for the rest of their lives. However, much to their surprise, they are the targets of a young assassin, one from their own former employer. The chase to find out why they have been targeted and how to get the mark removed makes up the rest of this bang-up thriller. It’s not easy, but none of these women have lost their skills. Or their desire to settle some old scores.
Killers of a Certain Age jumps back and forth in time, revisiting their training days and various missions they have done together and separately. I especially enjoyed their defeats of younger agents, often dependent on technology, using more “old-fashioned” methods. It’s tremendous fun, and I couldn’t put it down. The Museum should have known better.