A Spy in the House

A Spy in the House

eBook - 2010
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In Victorian England, orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she's rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency -- an elite, top secret corps of female invesigators with a reputation for results -- and at seventeen, Mary's about to join the ranks. With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of lady's companion to infiltrate a rich merchant's home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem -- least of all Mary.
Publisher: Somerville, Ma. : Candlewick Press, 2010.
ISBN: 9780763651824
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 electronic text.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Agency Series 1 - set in 19C Britain; heroine joins all female spy agency

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Jess_library Jul 08, 2010

This book is well-paced from the very first page. Enter our heroine, Mary Quinn, sentenced to face the gallows, only to be snatched from certain death and sent to a private academy for young ladies. Mary embarks on a journey to infiltrate London society and will discover that spying is a lot li... Read More »


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p
PolyWogg
Dec 05, 2019

BOTTOM-LINE:
Best mystery I have read all year
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PLOT OR PREMISE:
An orphan in the mid-1800s is diverted from the gallows to a school for girls, gets her high school education, and graduates to become an operative for a special investigating Agency of women run by the heads of the school.
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WHAT I LIKED:
The story has a very strong "Anne Perry" historical fiction feel to it, but without the constant discussion of Jane Austen-style society. The mystery is solid, the characters are rich, and the investigator -- Mary Quinn -- is inexperienced, which shows in some of her actions. I didn't guess the outcome, although I suspected some of it, and the hint of romance improves the flavour as it goes. She is more active than the Anne Perry-style heroines, and it shows as she breaks into various places.
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Her age is a bit distracting as she is 17 passing for 20, which no one really believes.
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DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him / her on social media.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Apr 25, 2019

Mary Quinn is the strong independent heroine of A Spy in the House by Y.S Lee. This unique piece of literature takes place in London in the 19th century. This is the beginning of young Mary’s story. This chapter in her tale is one of the mysteries and excitement. This story is rapidly paced. It will keep you on your toes at all times with unexpected allies and even more shocking enemies. While story itself may seem simple, I urge you to pay attention as your reading. Paying attention will give you more insight into Mary’s and the peculiar characters around her. It may equally communicate a slight idea of what the astonishing ending will be. I would give this book an overwhelming five stars. I encourage reading this exquisite novel. @booklover889 of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

r
ryner
May 29, 2018

Once a student, orphan Mary Quinn is now a teacher herself at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls in London, 1858. When one of the head teachers offers her a mysterious post in a spy agency, Mary jumps at the opportunity to take on a role with much excitement potential. Her first assignment is ostensibly tame: to become a paid companion to a Miss Angelica Thorold, a teenager whose wealthy family is suspected of having ties to international smuggling, in hopes that Mary will overhear important business conversations.

I was wholly charmed by this first in a historical mystery series, and have already requested the second book. In a time where even intelligent women are expected to be acquiescent and simpering, Mary is capable, smart and spirited in her investigative efforts.

kathleen_DCL Oct 02, 2017

The first book in The Agency series about a young orphan girl named Mary Quinn living in Victorian England. Life was very hard for poor young women then and Mary has had to be very strong to survive. After being saved from the gallows, Mary is lucky to go to school and eventually become a spy for an all woman agency then the excitement really begins! A great book! Looking forward to more.

LPL_KimberlyL Jul 02, 2016

A fast-paced mystery set in 1850's London, with clever dialogue, a sassy heroine, and plenty of intrigue. The author flips most gender conventions of the day on their heads to bring us an all-female spy agency, so there is plenty of a feminist undercurrent running through this book for those who enjoy a bit of a twist to their historical fiction. One of my favorites of the year, by far!

c
cocoachick16
Feb 16, 2016

This book was very good. I enjoyed the story very much. Can't wait to read the next three books in the series!

n
nidofito
Dec 25, 2015

A good start to a light, historical mystery. Hopefully we have a couple years difference in the next book to allow character personality development and to develop a more mature romance.

s
Sharonzy
May 29, 2015

I love this series!!

c
cinnamonkitty14
Jun 06, 2014

Very similar to Secret Letters by Leah Scheier. You might want to check it out if you liked this book... I'm looking forward to the rest of the series (I believe there are 3 books so far and a 4th coming soon). The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron is also a somewhat similar book, although you wouldn't think so at the beginning of the book. ...I seem to keep finding books that remind me of this series. The latest is Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen; Molly and Daniel remind me of Mary and James.

b
bookworm767
May 03, 2014

This is such a great mystery series. I love the storyline, the time period, the romance! The author has a really nice writing style and the story is easy to devour in a day. I cannot wait for her last book! I highly recommend her series.

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cooperkl1
Jun 05, 2018

Perfect quick read! Heroine is super relatable, and the plot is fast-paced. Leaves you questioning and wanting to see where her adventure takes her next. I also appreciated that while romance is a small portion of the book, the majority of the plot focuses on Mary's abilities and her growth as a character.

ForeverLeandraa Aug 10, 2012

Mary is an orphan and a thief. Stealing to survive is all she knows but at 12 years old she gets caught and sent to the gallows. She is rescued moments before her death sentence by a woman who takes her to Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. After 4 years of a proper education for a girl in Victorian London, she learns the Academy for Girls is really just a cover-up for The Agency. A select group of women that work as spies, Being a previous thief, Mary jumps at the opportunity to start her first mission and use her covert skills again. Posing as a companion for a young girl, Mary is thrown into the home and business of a rich merchant. Looking for clues to any illegal activity proves to be dangerous.

Mary is an orphan and a thief. Stealing to survive is all she knows, but at 12 years old she gets caught and sent to the gallows. She is rescued moments before her death sentence by a woman who takes her to Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. After 4 years of a proper education for a girl in Victorian London, she learns the Academy for Girls is really just a cover-up for The Agency, a select group of women that work as spies. Being a previous thief, Mary jumps at the opportunity to start her first mission and use her covert skills again. Posing as a companion for a young girl, Mary is thrown into the home and business of a rich merchant. Looking for clues to any illegal activity proves to be dangerous, and once she meets James it becomes harder to keep her cover. Can she keep her background a secret? Will everything be exposed before she can safely return to the Agency? What about James, is it even possible for Mary to have a romantic relationship? Join Mary in this Historical adventure that promises to leave you wanting more from this soon to be trilogy.

Grades 9-12, 355 pages

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Directioner44127
Jul 21, 2012

Directioner44127 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

green_panda_282 Jun 19, 2012

green_panda_282 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 14

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IHeartReading247 Jun 11, 2013

Agency,crazy,realistic

chrisgotstacks Jul 29, 2012

agency , crazy

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