The Agency: A Spy in The House
Y. S Lee
March 9th 2010
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.
This book, at this moment of time, for me, was kind of perfect. I LOVE the Victorians, and will pretty much read anything if it's set then. I have recently grown to love mystery's because, well, they're freaking awesome. (serious, I really want to read some Agatha Christie or something.) I love feisty heroines and dashing, likeable men-folk. And this book had all of that, so I was pretty happy!
The whole concept of the book was very unrealistic, being about a girl getting saved from the gallows and starting to work (a few years later) in a all women kind-of detective agency, thing. But still, I loved it all the same! It was such a fun book, with aspects of seriousness too, of course. I loved the mystery too, and I think it was brave that the author opened the series on a more kind of financial, business based mystery as opposed to the classic 'FIND OUT WHO KILLED THE PEOPLE' mystery. Which I think is what the Body in The Tower is (which I really need. I think this series is going to end up being kind of a favourite. I might have to make everyone read it.)
I loved Mary! She was so refreshing. She was orphaned after her mother died from the grief of losing Mary's father, but Mary got on with it and became a talented thief, who got caught, nearly got hung at the age of twelve, got saved, and then became a spy at age 17. Which is pretty freaking awesome. She's really clever, sharp and witty, and while she does have tiny trust issues (which is fair enough) she;s nice. But she's not afraid to say what she thinks, which is kind of a no-no for Victorian woman.
And James Easton! What a lovely guy. He was a little stand offish at first, and they didn't really get on, but in that kind of way that they get along really. Like they had a lot of arguments and disagreements, but it was all chemistry, you could literally feel the tension between them, but I'm glad it was never a really intense relationship, and you could tell they both fancied the pants off of each other, but they were friends first, and they have a good understanding of each other, and they're so cute together :3
I loved the mystery, and between that and the slow burning romance I was completely hooked. The writing was really great too. It was a little Victorian/old fashioned, but it a lovely kind of way, and it was still really easy to read and flowed really well, and I just really loved it. I can't think of anything negative to say about this book... It was just so right for me!
A Spy in The House is an excellent start to what I'm sure is a wonderful mystery series, full of feisty girls and dashing chaps and a plot that will keep you guessing ;) I really, really need the next two books!