Monday, October 12, 2009

The Agency by Y.S. Lee

The Agency: A Spy in the House

Published: 2009
Genre: Mystery
Paperback: 341 pages
Rating: 5

It is May 1858, the beginning of London’s “Great Stink” — a blend of river pollution and heat wave that paralyzes the city. Tucked in the attic of a nondescript girls’ boarding school is the Agency, an intelligence service with a difference: it’s an elite, all-female group of private investigators with a reputation for getting things done. And it’s just hired a hotheaded, 17-year-old ex-thief whose on-the-job training goes completely wrong…

New agent Mary Quinn’s task is to pose as a lady’s companion and observe a merchant suspected of smuggling. But this straightforward assignment goes awry when Mary gets impatient and exceeds her mandate. Almost immediately, she finds competition in the shape of James Easton, an arrogant young man who’s doing some snooping of his own. They first tangle — literally — in a closet.

When pressed, Mary reluctantly joins forces with James. But as useful as the partnership may be, it’s also dangerous: their mutual attraction threatens to distract them from the real secrets of the merchant’s household. Eventually, they reveal a plot that threatens James’s life, as well as Mary’s own dark secrets…

My thoughts:
In-a-word(s): Poppycock - not

This is a really enjoyable Victorian YA mystery. The setting and mood of London with its stink comes across well. What I liked the most about the book is that there is more than meets the eye with each character.

The mystery itself keeps you guessing until the end and you get to learn a bit of history in regards to the shipping industry and its sailors involved and shady characters, arrr!

Yes, romance too - the Victorian kind of course. You'll have to read this to find out if James gets to first base.

I'm looking forward to the rest of this series and being witness to the growth of the main character, Mary. She's got great potential which we've only gotten a taste of. However, this book works well as a stand-alone read too.

Amusing passage:
Coming to a halt, just outside her door. The bright glow of his lantern cast a little beam of yellow light through the keyhole.

A sigh.

A pause.

A fart.

And then the footsteps receded.

* yes, the crude juvenile humor in me is telling with this pick ;-D

A Spy in the House
The Body at the Tower (April 2010)
The Traitor and the Tunnel (Spring 2011)

Check out my book fashion - Agency dress.

Deleted scene: James point of view

Y.S. Lee contest: win this book
-offer ends November 1, 2009

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