Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is more than surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners and a most unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls is in fact a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady's companion, she must work against time as she infiltrates a rich merchant's home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But it soon becomes clear that the Thorold household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets including those of her own past. First in a riveting detective trilogy!
A Spy In The House (The Agency #1) by Y.S.Lee
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March, 2010 by Candlewick
From time to time, even i need a break from magic. And since the usual young adult books are not really my style i though to try a detective story. I missed them!
The story follows an intriguing mystery and the new life of Mary accompanied with an amazing atmosphere. One of the best descriptions i've read for Victorian England, so full of images, sounds and noises. Getting to know both the countryside and the cities.
The characters are the same good created. With Mary a really strong heroine (and sometimes stubborn) who even at the last moments fights for what she has to do. At the age of 17, and she is a secret detective. I liked how not all of her actions were the right ones and she was doing mistakes. It felt more real since it was her first mission ever.
The back characters are the same interesting. With their little secrets and how different they are at the end of what Mary sees. They all have depth and reasons of what they do. Each one of them so different than each other. Brave gentlemen, shy guys, evil girls, company guys.
If there was something negative, i would say it was how the mystery was unrevealed and the freedom girls had. I don't believe (haven't read so many books about that period) had that much freedom hanging around alone or even at saying their ideas and such. And as for the mystery, i found out who the bad guy is before i finish half of the book. So if, you have read many mysteries or play that kind of games you won't really be surprised who the person is.
And of course there is romance for the romantics out there. I especially liked how it turned out and the fact that the author didn't hide the main story behind but it gave it a smaller part in it.
Recommend the book to mystery, young adult, romance, historical fiction lovers. Plus, it's a light and fast read for a break from what most of YA deals now days.
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