Spy in a Little Black Dress
As a light, fun-filled spoof of the spy genre, Spy in a Little Black Dress delivers. If you’re a fan of Jackie Kennedy, with a sense of humor, you’ll enjoy her adventures (still as Jackie Bouvier, of course) in Cuba as a CIA agent investigating a young revolutionary named Fidel Castro who is opposed to Batista’s US-backed regime. She’s the best-dressed spy—from Coco’s creations to Oleg Cassini, Jackie’s wardrobe is always smashing, even if she’s facing off against slathering crocodiles (where, by the way, her clothes are an essential weapon). Appearances by Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, mob gangsters and East German secret police add to the surreal quality of this satire.
Before she heads out to Havana, she starts on her other assignment—date congressman Jack Kennedy in order to ascertain whether he’d be interested in working with the CIA. She finds herself falling for Jack, but once immersed in Cuban entanglements, she finds her heart tugging toward a handsome and brilliant young gentleman, Emiliano, a close friend of the charismatic Fidel. The novel doesn’t shy away from Jack Kennedy’s womanizing ways. Jackie recognizes them immediately from her lifelong experiences with her philandering father and her many more-than-marginally-inappropriate father-daughter conversations on the subject of men. In contrast, Jackie is portrayed holding to her strong moral compass, sacrificing her own safety for others and arguing the value of human life with revolutionaries.
This is a likeable if imaginative portrait of the future First Lady. The CIA connection is based on one of Jackie’s letters in the John F. Kennedy Library, revealing her job offer from Allen Dulles, the head of the newly formed CIA.