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SECRET AGENT GRANNY

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Full Name: Gold, Barbara
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Harper Lin
Time Span: 2017 - 2021

ABOUT THE SERIES

Barbara Gold is an agent with the CIA.

Former agent, that is. Retired.

This is the very short description she is kind enough to give us immediately upon our meeting her in the first recorded adventure: "I'm Barbara Gold. Age: 70. Height: 5'5". Eyes: blue. Hair: gray. Weight: none of your business. Specialties: Undercover surveillance, small arms, chemical weapons, Middle Eastern and Latin American politics. Current status: Retired widow and grandmother."

She is giving us this data as she sits in weekly meeting of the Cheerville Active Readers' Society, "the closest thing to pass for entertainment in this sleepy little New England town". She by no means hates the community of Cheerville but she would never have retired there if she had had a choice; her annoyance stems not from the location, mind you, but from the fact that retirement had been "forced down my throat by the government three years before".

One of the problems with the utter boredom Gold is finding herself dealing with is that she now worries about losing her edge and "getting soft". As an operative with the Agency, "nothing ever went unnoticed by me". Now with usually nothing going on at all, she was finding it more difficult than ever to pay attention. That is because there seems to be nothing ever going on in the town - her reason for moving there was because her grown son and his wife and teenaged son lived there. Since the passing of her beloved husband, James, a fellow agent himself back in the day, that was the only family she had so being close to them her largest desire.

Well, that and a bit more action. Weekly visits to the shooting range just outside the town borders was good for making sure her expertise with various firearms (and for giving the much younger male clientele a good chuckle - until they saw the bullseyes being obliterated). Regular exercise helped keep the muscles in fine working shape (as fine as they could be expected to be at seven decades). But it was the excitement she missed and the danger!

Which is possibly why when she knew she was nearing the end of her patience and having to sit in yet another tedious Reader's Society meeting and then one of the members dropped dead from obvious poisoning, well, here was a challenge - a puzzle to solve and a killer to catch and best of all, danger!

BOOKS

Number of Books:10
First Appearance:2017
Last Appearance:2021

1 Granny's Got A Gun Granny's Got A Gun
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2017

"Barbara Gold, a retired CIA agent, is bored out of her skull in Cheerville, a small town in New England—until a man is poisoned during a book club meeting for seniors. Everyone thinks Lucien had a heart attack, but from his symptoms, Barbara knows someone has slipped poison into his cake or drink.
Even though she is no longer undercover, Barbara feels as if she’s only playing the part of a sweet grandmother, but this may just be her most useful cover yet.
The clock ticks as she investigates who in the Cheerville Active Readers’ Society would want Lucien dead. It’s only a matter of time before his death is declared murder and the police start hounding everyone."
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2 Granny Under Cover Granny Under Cover
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2017

"Retired CIA agent Barbara Gold decides to take up gardening to pass the time in Cheerville, a quaint New England town. Before she can pay for her peat moss and a copy of Gardening for Numbskulls at the garden shop, she overhears two ladies gossiping about the death of Cheerville’s best gardener. Based on her extensive secret agent training, Barbara quickly concludes Archibald didn’t die in a freak accident via hedge clippers, but was murdered. The local police are no help, ruling the death a suicide.
To solve this case, Barbara must go undercover on her own—with a 9mm pistol, of course. From taking Seniors Yoga to infiltrating an underground gambling club, Barbara must use her best asset—her guise as a sweet seventy-year-old granny—to find the murderer, while not letting her babysitting duties to her thirteen-year-old grandson, Martin, and attention from a new love interest distract her."
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3 Granny Strikes Back Granny Strikes Back
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2018

"Retired CIA agent Barbara Gold is getting ready for her dinner date with new love Octavian when a stealthy intruder breaks into her home and tries to kill her with a serrated knife. Even at seventy years old, Barbara is able to fight him off and still have enough energy for a romantic evening. The expertly trained hitman will come back for her soon, and Barbara only has a few days before her family returns from vacation to find out who he is, how he knows her, and why he wants her killed."
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4 Granny Bares It All Granny Bares It All
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2018

"Ex-CIA agent Barbara Gold witnesses a woman being struck down by a car in broad daylight. It was no hit-and-run but plain, cold-blooded murder. After some sleuthing, Barbara discovers the strangest fact yet about sleepy Cheerville, New England: there’s a nudist colony on the edge of town, and the victim was an active member. Barbara must go on the hardest mission of her career—bare her 70-year-old body for all to see—in order to solve another bizarre murder mystery."
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5 Granny Goes Hollywood Granny Goes Hollywood
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2018

"When a big Hollywood film production comes to Cheerville, the town goes into a tizzy over action star Cliff Armstrong. But when his stunt double is killed on set, Barbara quickly deduces it was no accident and Cliff was meant to be the target. To hunt the killer, Barbara infiltrates the movie set as an extra, but she quickly lands a speaking role against the handsome Cliff Armstrong himself. Can she protect Cliff from a dangerous murderer lurking on set, prevent the town from going up in smoke, and star in Hollywood’s next blockbuster without blowing her cover?"
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6 Granny Gets Fancy Granny Gets Fancy
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2019

"When Barbara attends a fancy charity dinner with Octavian at the Cheerville Country Club, the evening ends with a man getting stabbed to death in the men’s restroom. Barbara is the first to assess the scene, making her a prime suspect until she makes a call to the CIA. With an unlikely ally, she must rub shoulders with more of Cheerville’s finest to uncover which of these privileged old folks had the motivation to kill the new guy in town."
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7 Granny on Board Granny on Board
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2019

"Octavian takes Barbara on a seniors’ cruise for her seventy-first birthday, but the vacation is not all piña coladas and shuffleboard. Barbara makes a frenemy in Georgina Branch, queen bee to a group of equally conniving girlfriends. Barbara is sure one or all of them killed the passenger who accidentally fell overboard early in the trip. Barbara and Octavian are stuck on a ship with a murderer, but at least the cruise has plenty of booze. Before their vacation gets cut short by another “accidental” drowning, can Barbara find the killer and keep her boyfriend safe?"
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8 Granny Goes Rogue Granny Goes Rogue
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2019

"Retired secret agent Barbara Gold’s biggest challenge is finding a birthday present cool enough for her teenage grandson… until a dead body drops into her shopping cart inside Cheerville’s new high-tech big-box store. Suddenly, Barbara is pulled back into the action and thrill she used to love in her working years—CIA involvement, shadowy figures, mysterious deaths, missing loot, and a chance for her to make a difference."
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9 Granny Goes Wild Granny Goes Wild
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2020

"Barbara Gold, a retired CIA agent, volunteers to accompany her thirteen-year-old grandson, Martin, on a group camping trip with his peers. Out in the wilderness with no phone coverage, the teens and their guardians are enjoying fresh air and mountain views… until Martin’s photography teacher is found dead in an abandoned mine. Barbara quickly gathers evidence before the rain can wash it away, but she and the campers quickly become the hunted. A psychopath is loose in the woods, tracking their every move. Barbara must use her old spy and combat training to outsmart the killer and keep the kids safe. But doing so might reveal secrets from her past to her beloved grandson."
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10 Granny Burns Rubber Granny Burns Rubber
Written by Harper Lin
Copyright: 2021

"Liz, a friend Barbara met during her undercover stint at Cheerville’s nudist colony, is getting married. When Barbara accompanies Liz to plan the wedding, the wedding planner is shot dead at the venue.
Barbara knows that bullet was intended for Liz, but why? Liz has secrets of her own, and her colorful past is catching up with her and threatening her new peaceful life. Even though Barbara is in the dark about who Liz used to work for, she knows she has to help her friend using her CIA skills and connections."
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MY COMMENTS

I admit I got a hoot out of Granny - er, Ms. Gold. She is by no means an average grandmother but then again I would not imagine the word 'average' would have applied to her at any point in her life.

Watching her deal with her constant and annoying boredom by finding things to poke her nose into - and then dealing with the hornets she invariably annoy a lot doing so - makes these stories fun to read.

Granted - and this is an important point to make - these tales are all mysteries and not really spy adventures but she pulls in enough of her previous life to make them qualify. And considering how annoyed she would get if she were excluded, well ...

GRADE

My Grade: B

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