Publisher: Candlewick Press
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.
This debuting novel is the first of a new series, and a far cry from the BookWhisperer’s typical read. I have to say that I was questionable about what my review would be for this book, and I can say without a doubt that I am a new follower. This mystery and suspense novel about a young girl rescued from the gallows to become a spy in a male driven world is quite exhilarating. Mary is a character with fierce drive and canny bravery in a time when women were subordinate and protected as the weaker species. This character will give readers a run for their money. Lee made sure to include the romance fans in this novel with her light hearted romance between characters. I exceptionally admired how she used bits of this romance for moments of release from the suspense of the true story line, but did not let the minor romance overrun the story in its entirety. Lee is a fan of irony, and you will be impressed with the outcome of this mystery.