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. (Goodreads)
Reviewed by Kate, book aficionado
This Victorian tale of mystery and espionage was indeed enthralling. I kept changing my mind on the possibilities of who was the culprit. I love a mystery novel that doesn't fall into the traditional clichés and makes you second-guess yourself. I also was fond of the love/hate relationships between Mary and her reluctant partner in these spy games. Both are dedicated to their jobs, but feel certain responsibilities for one another. I love how headstrong our heroine is in this rather prudish time period. Now I can't wait to find out if there are reunions and secrets revealed further in the series future!
Market: Young Adult, Teen, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Mature Themes: Murder, but not gory