Release Date: March 9, 2010
Review Source: Library
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.
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.
I found this book hard to get into originally, but once I was into the actual storyline it got better. I found Mary to be a very likable character, and I wanted her to succeed. I appreciated her tenacity and spark for life, despite the horrible upbringing she had. The actual mystery part of the story was almost a bit hard for me to follow, perhaps because it involved a lot of talk of records and stuff that I found a bit boring at times. Sometimes I found the narrative lacked a certain flow, but in other spots it was quite enjoyable. Nevertheless, the book was entertaining overall, and I liked the interactions between Mary and James Easton. I enjoyed his character quite a bit, so I hope that he'll be back in the other Agency titles. I appreciated that because Lee has a PhD in Victorian literature and culture that the details of the book are accurate. Overall, it was a good book, and I enjoyed reading a YA title by a Canadian (also an Ontarian) author.
Find A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca