By Deanna Raybourn – Berkley, 2022
Touted as “Golden Girls meet James Bond,” this thriller opens with four women in their 60s celebrating retirement from The Museum, where they’ve worked for 40 years. Only, The Museum is a euphemism for a covert agency of elite, hired assassins, ridding the world of despicable war criminals, former Nazis, child traffickers and the like. It’s not a job that offers a retirement package, something the ladies—code name, the Sphinxes—realize when they become aware that former coworkers are trying to kill them.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen and Natalie are exceedingly wise women who know too much, and The Museum leadership wants company secrets to die with these assassins. Naturally, the Sphinxes are not about to put down their weapons and go quietly into the night.
The story does an excellent job of showing how older women can be invisible, underestimated and often disrespected in the workplace. Having only each other and their experience to rely on, Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie are about to show The Museum that they’ve messed with the wrong retirees.