A Spy in the House
by Y.S. Lee
Genre: YA Mystery
Ages: 13 and up
Mary Quinn should have been dead, but by a miraculous intervention she is saved from the gallows at the age of twelve and given the education of a lady, plus a little extra. Now, at seventeen, she wants to do something meaningful and fulfilling with her life, so she goes to her teachers for advice. This is when they tell her about the Agency. The Agency is a group of secret female detectives who investigate what the police cannot. Because they are female, they can go unnoticed by those who might feel threatened or suspicious at the presence of a man. Soon she is sent on her first mission, to investigate the shady business of a man named Mr. Thorold, and she soon finds that she is not the only one looking. Soon she has made an uneasy alliance with James Easton, a handsome engineer who has reasons of his own for wanting the truth.
This book is improbable and unrealistic, but highly entertaining. I loved the character interactions between Mary and her partner/rival James Easton. They are constantly bickering even as you can tell they are growing closer. The story has some fun twists and turns that end in a way that leaves you eager for more. I wouldn't say that this is exactly great literature, but it sure is a lot of fun.
There is some mild language, for which I rate this novel a 2.10.
There are a few scenes of violence, nothing too graphic, but there are two murders and one of the victims is a child so I rate it a 6.10.
There are several references to prostitution and affairs as well as one scene where the protagonist discovers pornography in her search for evidence. However, there isn't anything graphic so I rate this 3.10 for sexuality.