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The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,400 Ratings  ·  590 Reviews
Mary's second adventure as an undercover agent forces her to relive some harrowing childhood experiences as she seeks the identity of a murderer. Mary Quinn is back, now a trusted member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Her new assignment sends her into the grimy underbelly of Victorian London dressed as a po ...more
ebook, 371 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Candlewick Press (first published August 10th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lexy S.C.
As a big fan of historical fiction mysteries, of course I am falling in love with Y.S. Lee's Agency series. I love how the novel is focused on the mystery, but with a hint of budding romance and big secrets.

Well-written and captivating, The Body at the Tower made for an amazing read. Y.S. Lee's writing pulls the reader into gritty Victorian London with Mary Quinn, and holds you captive as the mystery unfolds.

4.5 stars
Aug 06, 2010 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is fantastic! I don't read much historical fiction, let alone historical fictions that are mysteries, but I will continue to pick up this series, no doubt about it.

I think the thing that makes this novel so awesome is Mary. She has an excellent voice! You want to read her story, you care what happens to her and you want to help her solve the mystery. I felt a lot more empathy towards Mary this time around.....because of having to face her past as a child growing up on the street....
Steph Su
Aug 09, 2010 Steph Su rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, best-of-10
The first book in this series, A Spy in the House, was a solidly entertaining and well-researched historical mystery, but this second installment, THE BODY AT THE TOWER, throws me into fangirl zone. THE BODY AT THE TOWER, is off-the-charts incredible for its genre, a Victorian London mystery that is sure to please old and new fans.

All of Y. S. Lee’s writing strengths return in full force in this worthy sequel: from character development, to exquisitely immersing historical details, to a sizzling
3.5 stars. A time gap of about a year separates the events of the first book, A Spy in the House, and book 2, The Body at the Tower: Mary is now a full-fledged secret agent for The Agency. I would have liked more than passing references to the events in those in-between months that transformed her from street urchin to young lady, but in most other respects book two gave me precisely what I wanted more of from the first installment: Further character development for Mary and James, more details ...more
Why I picked it up: I read the first one and enjoyed it.

It's a year after A Spy in the House and Mary has a new assignment from the Agency. Disappointingly, we get basically no detail on what she has done for the past year. Mary has a new assignment, and she has to decide if she wants it: posing as a young boy at a construction site. This puts her back in a similar position to her own childhood and the emotional affects are a bit overwhelming for Mary.

I liked it, possibly even more than the firs
Apr 05, 2014 Estibaliz79 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Empiezo aclarando que las cuatro estrellas son una forma de destacar esta novela entre el maremagnum de las que quedan con las tres del punto medio, más que nada porque me ha gustado mucho el concepto y el planteamiento de la historia y de la serie en su conjunto.

De hecho, empiezo aclarando que ésta es la segunda entrega de una serie, aunque admite la lectura independiente sin mayor problema... más allá de la natural curiosidad del lector por conocer el cómo la protagonista llegó a ser quién es
Ruby Rose Scarlett
I was really looking forward to reading the second installment in The Agency trilogy. In this book, Mary has to investigate the death of a worker on a construction site & she goes undercover, disguised as Mark. While it was a really enjoyable read, I wasn't as pleased with it as I'd been with A Spy in the House (reviewed here). First of all, I didn't find the plot as engaging as for the first book. In the first book, I'd grown quite fond of reading about the secondary characters and their de ...more
After zipping through this novel's predecessor, A Spy in the House, it's no surprise I read this one just as quickly. While I loved A Spy in the House, The Body at the Tower was actually even better. The story was much more intriguing for me, the character development was absolutely wonderful, and the relationship between James and Mary had me bitting my nails the whole way through.

(view spoiler)
Feb 13, 2012 Ceitidh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, best-ya
Originally posted at

I have said many time how much I love The Agency series. This month, on February 28th to be exact, the third book is coming out! I had the privilege to receive an arc of The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency #3) So, just to encourage you to read these outstanding YA mysteries, you can read my review on A Spy in the House (The Agency #1) HERE! and now I will tell you all the things I love about the second book in the series, The Body at the To
Mar 07, 2012 kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 5-star, 2012
I'm giving this one a five even though I did love it a bit less than the first in this series. It is still far better than much of what is out there in the YA genre.
Mary is such a wonderful heroine, feisty, vulnerable and yes, even scared. The fact that she is scared and yet continues on without waiting for some guy to rescue her makes her one of my favorite characters. Her past and parentage make her a very sympathetic character. She makes choices that don't always make her happy and as a reade
Nancy O'Toole
At eighteen, Mary Quinn is almost a full fledged member of The Agency, an all female spy organization. When a man is murdered at the building site for the clock town at the House of the Parliament, The Agency is hired to gather intelligence. Mary agrees to take the case, despite the fact that it will require her to masquerade as a working class adolescent boy, a role which forces her to remember her time living on the streets in poverty. The case becomes more complicated when Mary runs into Jame ...more
The things that bugged me about the first book - details of Victorian London life being so off they were really irritating - were here again. Lots of little things, use of language that didn't sound right, reactions that seemed totally unlikely or were just there seemingly to explain to other "outsiders" in a way that made it too obvious that the narrator was thinking as an outsider - like a "teetotalling, cliché-spouting, church-going" overseer asking Mary if there was "no Christian charity" to ...more
TheEagerReaders Violet
Y.S. Lee's The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower is the second book in a series of mystery novels following Mary Quinn, a Victorian girl who was sentenced to death at the age of twelve and was fortunate enough to be rescued by a couple of women who run an exclusive school (as well as a secret investigative agency). In the first book, Agency: A Spy in the House, Mary was sent undercover on her first field-training exercise. The second book begins about a year after the first book ended, when Mary a ...more
Sharon Michael
Mar 15, 2015 Sharon Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining read with the plot centered around a detective agency in Victorian times owned and staffed by women. Works quite well, good characterization and a main character that is, in some ways, vaguely reminiscent of Mary Russell in the Laurie King "Sherlock" mysteries.

OK here are my thoughts now that I am a little more coherent and the cobwebs are not so existent in mah brain:

You know the example of a really gripping story? One that when read in audiobook form doesn't render me asleep. And I fall asleep to many books that I really enjoy and even my favourite authors like Terry Pratchett etc. Its not that they're bad but they don't have that feeling of riding a rollercoaster, which if you stop halfway you know you're going to fly off the rails and die, because
Tara Chevrestt
This is the second installment of The Agency series about a young lady in Victorian England who is doing undercover work for a secret agency consisting of only women. I love these books and everytime I read them I taken back to my Nancy Drew obsession days...
For full review and pictures, please click the link below:
The mystery itself wasn't that great, now that I think about it... but who cares? :)
Blodeuedd Finland
I did not read book 1, but I felt it worked anyway. I quickly got into the world, of course when this guy showed up I did wonder what had happened between them in book 1.

BUT, I know they said she was not big, but still, how does a 17 year old get away pretending to be a 12 year old? See I never get that in books, mostly cos when I was 12 I could not have played a 12 year old boy. Damn, they were short, it took them to like 16 to get near me in height. And then there is the whole thing that somet
Apr 21, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this interesting historical spy-caper. It had the feel of some of the historical suspenses I grew up reading. An exciting, fun story! I'm adding this series to my girl series library.
Second book in The Agency historical / Victorian-era mystery YA series.

I enjoyed the first book quite a bit, back when I read it, and this second book was possibly even better - with the backstory of our main character Mary established in the first book, this one could focus properly on the case at hand.

I'd say the historical aspects, as well as the social commentary, regarding the life of people of various classes in Victorian times, the differences between what's expected, and what life is li
Jan 15, 2014 Sariah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jess Myname
Feb 20, 2016 Jess Myname rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had forgotten how much I Loved Lees first book in the Agency series. Mary is an amazing leading lady. This book sucks you in from page one and never lets up for even a moment. When you read these book you will feel possessed and obsessed... always thinking about when you can sit and read and wondering what will happen next. Oh and can I just say I lOVE LOVE LOVE James... I am not a romance book fan it always feels forced... or added just because... or they push the sex stuff in your face and y ...more
In this second book of The Agency, Mary Quinn is asked to go undercover as a twelve-year-old boy at a construction site in order to find a murderer. Everything is going alright, right until her path crosses with James Easton, the guy she has been trying to forget during the past year. They once again make an agreement to help each other solve the case; and as she gains respect of her co-workers she inches closer to the suspect. This assignment sadly reminds Mary of her childhood past, for she’s ...more
I had this book sitting at my house forever. I was waiting for the first one to come in at the library so I could read it again and refresh. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and I just had to read it immediately.

Of course I loved it. How could I not? It has all my favorite elements - mystery, romance, intrigue, historical, victorian - sigh. That is the formula for an excellent novel.

Mary is going undercover again. This time as a boy. There has been a murder at the work site of Big Ben. She
K. Lincoln
Nov 12, 2010 K. Lincoln rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second in the series, The Body in the Tower continues the intriguing story of Mary Quinn (Lang), an orphaned girl rescued from a death sentence for house breaking by a spy agency run from a Girls' Boarding House entirely run by women in the Victorian age.

Mary is now a full fledged employee of the Agency and is being sent on her first major case...dressed as a boy at a building site where a suspicious death is a clue to a complicated web of graft and bribery.

I almost gave this book four stars ins
Jul 20, 2011 Krystle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know how much I raved about the first book? A Spy in the House? Yeah, well, the fun returns in this one!

I love how we get a lot more character development for Mary. In the previous book it was lightly alluded to that she was half-Asian, specifically, Chinese and this is further delved into and brought more to life. We get to find out about the mysteries behind her father and how she’s seeking to understand the circumstances around her birth but at the same time there is this complicated inne
Jennifer (FFT Reviews)
With the second book in her historical mystery series, Y.S. Lee continues the fascinating adventures of Mary Quinn, the half-Chinese, half-Irish former thief turned secret agent. Almost a year after her first assignment, Mary has become more confident in her abilities as a member of the Agency and enjoys the adventure involved in her missions. Her latest job requires her to take on the guise of a twelve year old boy in order to investigate a mysterious death on the building site of St. Stephen's ...more
Aug 21, 2014 Thenia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, series, 2013, r-ab
As enjoyable as the first one!

The story begins just as Mary receives her next mission, going undercover as a 12-year-old boy to a construction site where a suspicious death has occurred. She is reminded of her past, when she disguised herself as a boy to be safer while she struggled to survive in the unforgiving streets of London. That causes some unwanted feelings to come to the surface, but she manages to cope quite well.

James Easton unexpectedly re-enters her life and the two continue to bick
I'm really enjoying this series! I liked the first book even though it took a while to get to know Mary and to like her, but The Body at the Tower gets right into the thick of things and I was able to sympathize with her much more. Mary is now a trained spy working undercover as a boy on her first murder mystery. She is forced to face her childhood nightmares in addition to present dangers, and the world of poverty she enters feels very real.

I love the romance between Mary and James - it feels
Apr 03, 2015 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, ya-mg, 2015
Do you like Victorian London? Well-researched, grimy, soaking with class and gender issues and a soupçon of race issues? Wait, wait, do you like spies and mysteries? Hang on! Do you like romance that flickers and sparks?

Good god, man, why haven't you read this series?

Mary is back, masquerading as a 12-year-old boy on a building site, looking into a Mysterious Death during the construction of Big Ben. If you can resist everything I've said so far, I don't know if we can speak again.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 24, 2015 08:35AM  
  • The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes, #5)
  • Exile (Lady Grace Mysteries, #5)
  • Wrapped (Wrapped, #1)
  • The Education of Bet
  • Fallen Grace
  • Betraying Season (Leland Sisters, #2)
  • Prisoners in the Palace
  • The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals, #2)
  • Death in the Air (The Boy Sherlock Holmes, #2)
  • The Girl is Trouble (The Girl is Murder, #2)
  • Cat Among the Pigeons (Cat Royal, #2)
  • Folly
Y S Lee was born in Singapore, raised in Vancouver and Toronto, and lived for a spell in England. As she completed her PhD in Victorian literature and culture, she began to research a story about a girl detective in 1850s London. The result was her debut novel, The Agency: A Spy in the House. This won the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s inaugural John Spray Mystery Award in 2011.

The Agency quart
More about Y.S. Lee...

Other Books in the Series

The Agency (4 books)
  • A Spy in the House (The Agency, #1)
  • The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency, #3)
  • Rivals in the City (The Agency, #4)

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“I’m so sorry. I don’t think the etiquette manuals cover this sort of situation.” He leaned in close, his lips all but grazing her neck, and inhaled. “Mmm. You smell good, too.”

She nearly choked. Took a step backwards, until her back met cold stone. “Th-thank you.”

“That’s better. 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 hands 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.”
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