Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Girl with the Golden Bouffant, by Mabel Maney

(pb; 2004: second book in the 007½ /Jane Bond series)

From the back cover:

"When James Bond lands in the hospital with nasty facial burns (the result of an explosive encounter between a girl's fag and his hair pomade), the home office once again calls on Jane Bond, James's lesbian older sister -- aka, 007½ -- to don, suit, sneer and scars, and masquerade as the infamous 007. Her destination is the men-only International Spy Convention in glamorous Las Vegas. Her assignment: to steal a secret spy invention. As a double agent for Her Majesty's Secret Service and for G.E.O.R.G.I.E., the all-girl secret organization of she-spies, Jane must complete her mission and keep her brother's reputation intact by guzzling martinis, flirting with near-naked showgirls, and -- most important -- remembering to use the men's bathroom.

"Along for the ride is Jane's only ally in the male spy world, retired special agent Cedric Pumpernickel, and two G.E.O.R.G.I.E. gals, Bridget St. Clare and Bibi Gallini, who will attempt to blend into the tourist crowd in the Mary Quant dresses.

"But Jane's stay in Sin City becomes doubly dangerous when an American agent is thrown over the Hoover Dam and all fingers point to Jane. . ."


Maney's second Jane Bond novel isn't as good as the first novel, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Spy. There's plenty of wry humor, campy schtick and sexy slapstick, and Maney is relentless in her skewering of the different perceptions of men and women. However, all these charming qualities wear thin around the middle of the book, as the plot doesn't fully kick in until that point.

Maney favors a leisurely, character-paced approach, and for the most part, it works.

Maney -- an excellent, deadpan writer -- eventually picks up the pace and plot, with a funny finish that makes me hope she'll write another Jane Bond novel, provided it's more tightly plotted than this one.

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