Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Spy in the House by YS Lee

A Spy in the House (2010) is the first book in The Agency series by YS Lee. I saw this audiobook on the shelf in the local library and loved the cover so had to try it out. I was not disappointed!

Length: 7h 29m; Grade: 5
Audio publisher: Brilliance Audio, 2010

A Spy in the House sets up the premise for The Agency series. After being arrested for stealing, Mary Quinn is saved from the gallows by Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. After graduating, Mary learns the school also serves as a training ground for The Agency, a spy organization of women. Mary's first case has her pose as a lady's companion in the house of a smuggling suspect.

I love Mary. She's smart, daring, and has all-important thief skills. She also has questions about her father. The story is divided between spying for her job and her search for her past. YS Lee has a PhD in Victorian literature and adds interesting historical content. The smell of the Thames, attitudes toward foreigners, and class tensions make the setting nuanced and historically accurate. There are even some long glances across a drawing room floor to heat things up a bit.

Reading - I had listed to Justine Eyre before with Fallen by Lauren Kate, but didn't recognize her because she pulls out a British accent for this book. I can't tell one British accent from another so can't judge if this one is geographically or historically accurate. Eyre's reading is very precise and suitable.

Final thoughts - I'm looking forward to more in the series.

For - anyone who wants intelligent Victorian YA
More - try the Enola Holmes mysteries by Nancy Springer, another fabulous Victorian strong-willed female YA sleuth

Nums - I love the cover for the French version of the book and the fact that it has a completely different title, The Jade Pendant.


  1. Ooh, this sounds like something that I might enjoy. Thank you so so much for hopping on board with the audio book challenge. I've been having a lot of fun with it and I hope that you do the same. I'm really looking forward to reading more of your reviews.

  2. Thanks, Teresa, for for running the audio book challenge and for providing my very first comment! This is a great audio book and fairly short so it's not too much of a commitment. I hear the third book in the series is already out in the UK and can't wait till it gets to the US.