Do you like historical fiction novels?
Do you like horror novels?
Do you like novels with a light touch of the fantastic?
Do you like novels written for teenagers that are far superior to many novels written for adults?
Do you like novels about the roles of women and men but especially women set in Victorian England?
Do you like novels about the history of science and scientific exploration?
Do you like murder mysteries?
Do you like prose that is as perfect as prose can be?
Do you like novels about girls who lie, who sneak around and keep secrets, who want revenge, who can be cruel, who constantly defy expectations and face danger and punishment for either being themselves or for being female to begin with?
If you said yes to these questions, then you have no excuse not to read The Lie Tree.
I reviewed A Spy in the House last October, and almost seven months later I’m here with a review of the sequel The Body at the Tower.
It’s been almost a year since the events of A Spy in the House, and Mary Quinn has been hard at work training to be a fully-fledged spy for the all-female detective agency operating under the premises of the boarding school Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. Mary has accepted an unusual assignment, far outside the Agency’s purview: rather than taking the guise of a maid or a governess or a ladies’ companion, Mary goes undercover as a twelve-year-old boy working at construction site next to the House of Parliament. There she is charged with investigating the possible murder of one John Wick, found dead at the foot of the clock tower, off of which all evidence points he was pushed from. This job brings up many difficulties for Mary, both anticipated—the memories of her past when she used to lived on the street and her carefully-guarded secret of her Chinese, mixed-race heritage—and unanticipated, in the form of her flame, Mr. James Easton.
Seven reviews in, and this is the first review of a book published prior to 2015! This review also marks my first non-speculative fiction book featured on the blog.
A Spy in the House is a historical YA mystery set in 1850s London featuring the exploits of one Mary Quinn. Twelve-year-old Mary, a pickpocket and housebreaker, has been sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead, but is unexpectedly saved at the last minute by a woman named Miss Trealeaven. She runs the Scrimshaw Academy for Girls, a school for women who desire to learn skills and enter professions outside those of wife and mother.