Synopsis: Matt's mission is fairly simple. An agent in Mexico needs to be extracted from a potentially serious situation. But the agent, code-named Sarah, is killed before he can get to her. However, Matt does extract Sarah's sister, Gail. Afterwards, the two of them spend the rest of the book fighting with each other between love scenes. Matt Helm eventually foils the bad guys and saves a bunch of U.S. Congressmen and scientists from being killed.

The Players:
  • Sarah, code name of one of Mac's people. Remember her from Death of A Citizen? In order to infiltrate a foreign espionage ring, she is working as a stripper in a Juarez bar. She doesn't survive, however; she is killed by one of Sam Gunther's henchmen just as Helm was about to bring her home to the U.S. It turns out that Sarah had been persuaded to work for the enemy, and was really one of the bad guys.
  • Jim Romero, an agent for another U.S. Government agency, not specified. He plays a key role in the success of Matt's mission, but does not survive.
  • Sam Gunther, a bad guy. At one point considered to be THE bad guy, but he wasn't. Sam gets messed up pretty bad by Helm's fancy razor-sharp belt buckle, and is eventually killed by "injection B."
  • Weggmann, who was THE bad guy. A foreign agent posing as a gas-station operator. He and his associates are killed at book's end, although not by Matt Helm.
  • Gail Hendricks, Sarah's sister. Before she dies, Sarah passes some secret microfilm and instructions to Gail. Helm spends the rest of the assignment trying to decide if Gail's one of the good guys or not, and by book's end, he is in love with her.

Scorecard:
Amorous conquests: Gail Hendricks, who survives. She starts calling him "darling" even before they go to bed together.

Dead: Nine or ten (Pat LeBaron, one of Matt's people, killed by Gunther; Sarah, killed by Gunther's associate; Valdi, a scientist, killed by one of Weggmann's men; Jim Romero, Weggmann, and three or four of Weggmann's people, killed by errant missile; and Sam Gunther, killed by Matt Helm.)

Injuries to Helm: Assorted bumps, nicks, and bruises, but nothing serious.

Quote: "There was a groan off to one side. I knew where Number One had landed. He'd rammed the bed with his head as he pitched forward . . . but I thought I'd better do something more permanent about him while Number Two was still taking things easy and sizing me up. I jumped up on the double bed. The big one couldn't figure out what I wanted up there. He came forward slowly, alert for a trick. Finally, he lunged for me. I vaulted to one side, dropping over the foot of the bed and landing on his partner, driving the boots in hard. It wasn't a very nice thing to do, but I wasn't feeling very nice."

Conclusion: Although he disobeyed a few of Mac's directives in order to save some politicians and scientists, the end result proved satisfactory, and Matt was not seriously reprimanded. We'll find him in the fifth novel, appropriately called . . .
         

Matt Helm ™ is the property of Donald Hamilton.
and is a Trademark of Integute AB
This independent reference to, and appreciation of, the Matt Helm book series
is copyright 1998-2012 - Don Winans
Originally posted in June 1998 - Last Modified 22 July 2000
Send comments/criticisms/fan mail to MacBorden@aol.com