The Mary Quinn Mysteries by Y.S. Lee
Walker Books, 2011.
A Spy in the House. ISBN 9781763652890. The Body in the Tower. ISBN 9781406315981. The Traitor in the Tunnel. ISBN 9781406315974.
(Age 13 +) Highly recommended. Set in Victorian London these mysteries feature the intriguing and entertaining character of orphaned Mary Quinn. Rescued from prison at the age of twelve and placed in a children's home, she is recruited at age 17 to work undercover in a secretive women's detective agency. The books vividly recreate the historical times and in particular illustrate well the inequity in living standards between both rich and poor and men and women in those times.
All three books feature the charming character of James Easton as a love interest and the storylines are all well plotted with twists and turns to sustain interest. My favourite story, The Body in the Tower, authentically describes the building of Big Ben as the final addition to the British Houses of Parliament. These books will be a very welcome addition to school libraries for readers of historical fiction and the detective genre. Teenage girls will identify strongly with the courageous and ingenious Mary.