A Spy in the House
Author: Y.S. Lee
Series: The Agency #1
Published: 2009 by Candlewick Press
Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is 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 infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the 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.
(Prologue) “She should have been listening to the judge.”
I completely forgot how much I love mysteries. I LOVE THEM A LOT.
There are many things I love in books: spies, mysteries, England (back in the day), hot guys, and disguises. And these are just some. I love EVERYTHING about this book.
I love Y.S. Lee’s writing style. I love the way she captures the time period, the amazingness of Mary, the total hotness and amazingness of James, the suspense and mystery of the plotline, and the way she had me guessing up until the very end. When describing everything, Lee doesn’t shy away from telling the reader what’s going on. The discussions between the characters aren’t full of euphemisms (mostly) and the visual pictures are very blunt.
Mary Quinn is a no-nonsense girl. She grew up on the streets, she’s hiding many secrets, and she doesn’t take her job lightly. I loved how she just threw out whatever she was thinking no matter how “unladylike” it might have been. She knows her job, she knows how important it is, and she’s going to be herself no matter what. I really, really respect her.
James Easton is to die for. I’m not even kidding. I completely adore him. I knew from the moment James and Mary awkwardly met that they would be a great literary couple. I’m sure their relationship will go through a lot throughout this series (due to hidden secrets, and the ending to this book), but I’ll stick with them because they’re perfect for each other.
If you love mysteries, historical London, evil schemes, hot (and smart) guys, and women in espionage, you need to read this book (and its sequels).
Content Warning: Mild language, kissing