Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Release Date: 8/10/2010
Books in Series: A Spy in the House, The Body at the Tower
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About the Book: Mary Quinn, detective for The Agency, is back! A body has been found at St. Stephen's Tower-was it an accident or foul play? In order to find out the truth, Mary goes undercover as twelve-year-old working boy Mark Quinn. Disguised as Mark, she hopes to get closer to the men at the worksite and find out what happened. But Mary's disguise as a boy might not be working as well as she thought, she's not sure who she can trust, and James is back-and just might prove to be a big distraction.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I was a huge fan of the first book in this series, A Spy in the House, and when I love a book that much, the sequels make me nervous. But I didn't need to worry because The Body at the Tower proves that Y.S. Lee is a master storyteller who rules the historical mystery.
The banter I loved from the first book between Mary and James was back-and with things heating up between them, I kept the pages turning and I think James may be a new book crush! I still adore The Agency and I want to know more about them. I'd be OK with The Agency spin-off novels about Anne and Felicity, the women who rule the female detective operation!:)
Because this job requires Mary to disguise herself in boy's clothing, we get a peek into Mary's past. I thought her hesitancy about taking the job were believable and I liked getting to more about her life before The Agency found her. We also get to see Mary's struggle with her heritage and culture, which I think gives these books an extra twist and makes them stand out. Even though Mary says she's going to hide her past and her heritage, I think there's more to learn there, so I'm hoping we find out more about her father in the next book.
I did have a harder time getting into the mystery in this book than I did the first one, but I think that was due to the fact that the mystery took place on a building site, which is something I'm not familiar with. So there were a few times that I felt a little lost in the setting because I was having to learn about Victorian building sites and equipment on top of figuring out Mary's mystery.
Even if you're not a fan of historical fiction, these books will pull you in. I love that author Y.S. Lee adds historical details and facts without making me realize it-she's so sneaky about that stuff and I love it! I've already recommended A Spy in the House to many of my teen readers and I can't wait to do the same with The Body at the Tower. Another great read and I can't wait for more of Mary (and hopefully James!)
Book Talk Ideas: Need a mystery solved? Call The Agency, a group of female detectives in Victorian England who will go undercover and solve the case. When a body is found at St. Stephens Tower, Mary Quinn is undercover as a young boy to figure out if it was murder.
Pair it With: I love historical fiction when paired with a mystery! Check out The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes Series) by Nancy Springer The Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal Adventures) by Julia Golding, The Season by Sarah MacLean, and The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart Series) by Philip Pullman