Susan Melville is a freelance assassin.
Poor Susan! Her wealthy upbringing, with its beautiful home and antique furniture and great artwork and few worries, collapsed when her father absconded to South America one step ahead of the authorities, taking most of the wealth with him. A product of an excellent education with learning in all the finer aspects of life proved to be somewhat less than useful when it came to finding a job.
She eventually found something she felt fit her new station and which she enjoyed - that of an art teacher at the small girls' school. Now, after many years of barely making due with the small salary they paid and well into middle age, she learned that institution was closing and she was left with practically nothing.
Her only true love was Peter, an anthropologist who spent most of the year in an unknown location studying an aboriginal tribe no one had heard of. To make ends meet, barely, she resorted to crashing social functions for the barely decent food and for the company.
What she would do was dress in her finest clothes befitting whatever bash she was going to sneak into, name-drop or schmooze or berate her way into the festivities, and then consume above average amounts of whatever food was being provided. This would include taking a oversized handbag to hold tomorrow's repast as well.
The last straw for her, though, came when she was told that the rent-controlled apartment she had lived in for decades is turning condo and she must buy or get out. Appealing to the landlord, an old would-be suitor, did no good. Her meager life has just hit the bottom.
That's when she decided to end it all. And a good place to do that is the charity affair the landlord was hosting. However, when it came time to slip off to a side room, pull out the little gun and shoot herself in the middle of his boring speech, she had a change of heart. She shot him instead.
Feeling rather pleased with her choice, Miss Melville left. But she had been seen by some one else, namely a man who had been sent to kill the landlord himself. Seeing a kindred spirit and appreciating the way she did it, the way she got away with it, and the way she had no remorse about it at all, he decided he had found a colleague
And thus began the new, strange career of Susan Melville, paid assassin.
Note: There was a fifth book written but the publishing of it is not certain. It was said to be reprinted by Penguin Books in December, 2010, but as yet no word has been found. The book was Miss Melville Runs For Cover.