Michelle's Review: A Spy in the House (The Agency #1) by Y.S. Lee

yslee Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Language: English
Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.

Michelle's Review:
In A Spy in the House, we're introduced to Mary Quinn, a girl rescued from the gallows and was given an education at a school just for women. The school was also a cover for The Agency, a secret investigative unit made up of women working undercover to solve mysteries. Mary was The Agency's newest member so she had a lot to prove in working her first case but it turns out she'll uncover a lot more than clues to the mystery surrounding the missing cargo ships.

I've had this book on my shelf for months but other books (aka review books) had to be read and it just kept getting pushed to the side. Well, I'm glad I was finally able to read it because I absolutely enjoyed this book! A Spy in the House is the author's first book, but it doesn't read like a debut novel. The writing is superb with an engaging plot and wonderful descriptions of Victorian England that I feel like I'm seeing it in my mind like a movie. The characters were fantastic and all of them interesting in their own way but my favorite was James. Often authors either make their heroine's counterpart too nice or not nice enough that he become a jerk. However, I thought James was a happy medium of a young adult hero. I love the banter between him and Mary and I can't wait to see where their relationship will go in book two. I admit the romance aspect of the book did distract a bit from the mystery but I didn't mind. The mystery itself was interesting and it wasn't easy to figure out (at least not to me) until obvious clues start to emerge. This book has plenty of twists and turns to entertain you as well as make you think. I highly recommend it! 4.75 out of 5 stars


  1. This sounds like an awesome book. I'll be adding it to my wish list straight away! Thanks for sharing.

  2. James was awesome, can't wait to read Body at the Tower! I did find that the mystery wasn't the most exciting so I'm hoping the second one will be a little more thrilling in that aspect. The romance was really cute though!

  3. While I did like Lee's debut novel, I was not enthralled with it. I felt like the characters were a little too flat. Although, I did like the dialogue between Mary and James. I have not yet read the second book, but I am hoping that Mary's character grows and and did really like the mystery in the first so I am sure the second book's mystery is intriguing as well.

  4. I just got this one from CW and I can't wait to read it. Sounds like it's really good :)

  5. This sounds like a great book and I'm definitely adding it to my list of TBR. Thanks for the review!

  6. I have this on my tbr and as soon as I get through those review books, I'm reading it. Thanks for the review!


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