The Agency Book #2
Rating: 4 out of 5 Magical Coffee Cups
Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London – as well as childhood fear, hunger, and constant want – to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city’s needy doesn’t distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend – or flame – just might.
Mary, a full-fledged detective now, is asked to attend a meeting at the Agency disguised as a 12-year-old boy. She is pretty much a pro at this type of thing because of her past as a young thief and she goes all out for this assignment. She clearly passes the test by fooling both Anne and Felicity. Mary’s assignment is to be placed at a construction site to find the truth behind a mysterious death. Because Mary is Mary, she has cut her hair and moved out of the girl’s boarding school into a lodging house.
This is all sort of surprising that she dove this deep into her portrayal as a boy. Yes, she is experienced in this from her childhood, but it wasn’t a happy childhood. Living like this is a very harsh reminder to Mary of her childhood days when she had to beg and steal to survive. These reminders do cause some discomfort for her but as we know from the first book, she is a tough cookie. This is one of the things that I love about Mary, she doesn’t shy away because things are a little uncomfortable or because she is scared. She is a strong and feisty heroine.
So Mary is working in construction and if you remember from the last book, she knows someone who also works in construction. JAMES! Yeah, he’s back. It’s pretty wonderful. I was such a sucker for their romance. I will say the flirtation was a little comical when Mary was disguised as a boy.
“May I kiss you?” His finger dipped into her shirt collar, stroking the tender nape of her neck.
“I d-don’t th-think that’s a good idea.”
“Why not? We’re alone.” His hand were at her waist.
Her lungs felt tight and much too small. “Wh-what if somebody comes in?”
He considered for a moment. “Well, I suppose they’ll think I fancy grubby little boys.”
The dialogue between Mary and James is always so much fun. They are either bickering or flirting, there is not a whole lot of in between. And I love that about them.
Back to the main story, there was a lot to this one, and it kept me guessing right up until the end. You know that there are things going on at this worksite but you aren’t sure if any of these shenanigans would have caused a murder. There was also a lot more action with this story compared to the first. I know Mary did some pretty dangerous things in the first book but I feel she is getting braver and bolder as she continues with the agency. There is only so much trouble one can get into as a lady’s companion but as a young boy working at a construction site she is in pubs, hauling bricks, and venturing out to some pretty seedy parts of London to help out a new friend. And because this book is titled “The Body at the Tower” you can bet Mary gets herself to the top of that tower.
I really don’t want to give too much away by with this book but you really end up worrying about James. I really hope he is in the next book. There are a few reasons that cause me to worry that he might not be in the next book. But really, how many times can they serendipitously run into each other? Hopefully the answer is indefinite.