Tuesday, November 13, 2012
This second book of The Agency, a YA mystery series set in Victorian England, continues the adventures of Mary Quinn, a half-Chinese orphan who is now working as part of a covert group of all-female detectives who operate out of Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls.
The first book of the series, A Spy in the House, tells of Mary's first experiences at the school, as well as her first case. Now Mary is a trusted member of the detective team, and she is sent to work on a new case. The clock tower of the new Houses of Parliament is under construction, and it has been plagued by bad luck from the start. Now a man has fallen from the tower, and Mary, dressed as a boy, takes a job at the construction site in order to find out what is going on.
She expects the case to be a tough one, and it is - but not for the reasons she anticipated. Dressing as a poor street urchin brings back difficult memories of her own days on the streets, which is a dangerous distraction from the matters at hand. Equally distracting is the surprising presence of a man she'd never thought to see again...
This is an action-packed mystery, something that teens who enjoy historical novels and mysteries will find compelling. While I find Mary's sensibilities a little too modern to be fully believable, the author does bring the Victorian London setting to vivid life. Mary is a strong female protagonist, one that readers will be able to identify with and will definitely root for. I look forward to following her further adventures.
Books in The Agency series:
1. A Spy in the House
2. The Body at the Tower
3. The Traitor and the Tunnel
The Body at the Tower (#2 in The Agency series) by Y. S. Lee (Candlewick Press, 2010)
Also reviewed at:
Beyond Books: "I honestly loved Mary Quinn. She was smart and witty and didn't act like a damsel in distress."
Erin Reads: "So far, the Mary Quinn books have great characters, convoluted plots, and quick dialogue. Each of the first two have ended in a way that’s left me satisfied but waiting for more."
Steph Su Reads: "Well-written, eye-opening, and entertaining, you will dive in and be immersed immediately."