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 pastSummary from goodreads
*(A Spy in the House is the first novel)
So I picked up these books in a rush; I had to leave the library, but I didn't have nearly enough books to get me through the week; I didn't read the summary and barely glanced at the cover. The only thing that actually compelled me to read these was the little sticker on the spine labeling it as a mystery novel. I put it off as long as I could, and when I finally opened it my reaction was a bit like this:
The novel is set in the late 19th century, and Mary is quite an adventurous young 17 year old; and an outspoken an independent woman for her time and age. She is inserted into environments where she has one job: to spy on the rich and corrupt and discover all their misdoings; smuggled goods, stolen items, and sunken ships. Along the way, she meets quite a few interesting people including James Easton and Octavius, who make her story all the more charming. One of the reasons I love this series is that, although it does contain some sort of a romance; this doesn't take away from the plot at all. The main focus is always Mary and her assignment, without the unnecessary and, quite frankly, annoying love triangle sub plot that seems to dominate the story. It made me smile and quite nearly almost scream in anticipation with the absolutely wonderful twists and turns that occur throughout the novel.