Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)

Killers of a Certain Age Reader’s Guide

By Deanna Raybourn

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn



Warning: this section contains spoilers


Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.  

When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death. 

Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman—and a killer—of a certain age.

1.     The Museum is founded with the intention of bringing justice to those who have never been held accountable for their atrocities. Is this mission statement fulfilled?

2.     How would you characterize the relationship among the four assassins? How do they each fulfill their roles with regard to their respective talents?

3.     Each of the four is recruited very young, at a vulnerable point in her life. How does this make them susceptible to recruitment? Is this ethical?

4.     The foursome have spent their entire adult lives in the service of the Museum only to be betrayed by the organization to which they have given so much. How does this betrayal drive their actions?

5.     How do each of the flashback missions relate to the current kills?

6.     Naomi Ndiaye is a character who performs a critical role in the plot. How would you describe her? She allows circumstances to play out in order to secure the future of the Museum even though this puts the four assassins at greater risk. Was she right to do so?

7.     Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie each bring something unique to their missions. How would you describe them? Which do you relate to more? Which talents would you bring to a mission?

8.     Minka and Akiko are strong supporting characters. How does this network of women hold one another up? How does Constance fit into the idea of women who support other women?

9.     Billie keeps a secret safe house in New Orleans. Does this make her wise or paranoid?

10.  The four assassins have to “burn” their real identities and start over. Could you do this? 

11.  Much of the team’s success comes from being older and therefore overlooked and underestimated. How do they use this to their advantage? What advantages did they have as younger women working in a traditionally masculine trade?

12.  How would Billie’s life have been different if she had pursued a relationship with Taverner? Was he right to follow his dreams of marriage and fatherhood even though it meant giving up the love of his life?

13.  How would you characterize the relationships the four assassins have with the significant people in their lives? Does keeping their occupations secret protect these relationships? Or does it prevent real intimacy?

14.  What do you think is next for the four assassins?
Back to Top