Grandmother, garden-clubber, karate expert, and part-time CIA agent Emily Pollifax (Mrs. Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish, 1990, etc.) is sent by boss Carstairs first to a funeral in Virginia, then to Sicily. From there, ex-agent John Farrell, now owner of a Mexico City art gallery, has sent an SOS asking for her help. He's in Sicily to authenticate a document bearing the signature of Julius Caesar for collector Ambrose Vica--and he's in deep trouble. Carstairs assigns gutsy young agent Kate Rossiter, who knows the area, to assist Emily. Together, they find Farrell--injured and shaken; take on a couple of pursuers; and end up in the fortress villa of Kate's aunt Franca--an unflappable type who paints first- class forgeries, sells them, and helps the villagers with the proceeds. It takes a while to find out what's behind all the brouhaha--an assassin prematurely released from a French prison, plus a deeper conspiracy thwarted with much help from Franca and villagers. A heavily contrived plot sparks little tension, and the movie- script characters are uniformly unreal. Pollifax fans may love it, but Gilman's best work lies outside this series.