Until her diagnosis, few knew how passionately Val -- a lover of Nancy Drew mysteries as a child -- fantasised about becoming a hardboiled female gumshoe. Motivated by her illness to finally pursue her goal, Val opened her own PI firm and became an undercover mother. Val invents wildly funny and unique ways to get at the truth, like using her 'feminine weakness' to cajole a man suspected of health insurance fraud to lift heavy bags of soil for them. She does stake-outs in between grocery store runs and drug busts before picking her kids up from school. She finds lost loves, reunites adoptees with birth parents, uncovers insurance fraud, and nabs internet scammers. Her weapons are woman's intuition and mom smarts powered by a deep faith in God. Together with her various business partners, she turns everything that might be considered a liability -- gender, age, family, illness -- into assets, and becomes an inspiration to anyone pursuing their dreams despite tremendous odds. Poignant and moving, it explores the determination of one mom to make her life count, even when the worst happens. "Spymom" is part detective story, part cancer story, and 100 percent inspirational tale.
Val Agosta was an undercover mother working the mean streets of Boise. Val, who earned a BA in social work and an MBA from Boise State University, founded Hanady Investigations in 2000. She has been featured on the Today Show, MSNBC, Good Housekeeping, Working Woman and More magazines. She passed away in March 2009. Dee Axelrod is a journalist and freelance writer. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.