Twelve-year-old Mary Quinn, a thief and a house breaker, has been sentenced to death by hanging when she is unexpectedly rescued and given the opportunity to improve her life by attending Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Five years later she isn't interested in working as a teacher or finding a husband, so she eagerly accepts a role with the Agency, the secret female spy corps hidden within the school.
Her first assignment is to work as a lady's companion with the Thorolds, a family whose patriarch is suspected of smuggling. The father ignores her, the daughter detests her, and the mother is practically an invalid. Can Mary help solve the case without getting caught? And will the aid of a new friend help or hurt her case?
Although Mary Quinn is a Victorian girl, her feelings are ones that modern readers can relate to, and that's one of the most appealing aspects of this novel. She is brave, smart, and self-sufficient. She's far from perfect, as if would not be a very interesting coming of age spy novel if she was an expert straight off, but she's definitely a girl to be admired.
Mystery fans will love this book, particularly those who like the Sally Lockhart books, and readers who demand a little romance mixed in will also be satisfied. This book is part of a trilogy, with the next two releases in August 2010 and spring 2011. I, for one, can't wait to find out what Mary Quinn does next.
Edition I Read: Hardcover
Where/How I got it: Amazon
Total Books Read in 2010: 35
Will I Make This Available to my Students?: Yes, finally, after a streak of books too old for them.
Other Books Read but not Reviewed: 0