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The Body At The Tower

(The Agency #2)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  7,778 ratings  ·  679 reviews
Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London - as well as childhood fear, hunger, and constant want - to unmask the identity of ...more
Kindle Edition, 342 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Candlewick (first published August 10th 2010)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,778 ratings  ·  679 reviews

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Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
The Body at the Tower is book two in what I now discover is a quartet with absolutely no chance that the author will write more. That is a shame because these books have a lot going for them!

Firstly the main character, Mary Quinn, is a good, strong, intelligent female who is well worth reading about. She is independent and resourceful and usually manages to pull herself out of the many scrapes she gets into. The male interest in the book, James, is a well written character as well and I enjoyed
May 04, 2010 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
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-10, own
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
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Enjoyed the first book of the series more as it showed real promise and presented a sympathetic YA heroine, but I will now call it quits. Improbable events and inappropriate behavior, not faithful to historical tenets of Victorian era, and just silly. If I had a young adult reader in my house I would need to have a talk...unless the author means this to be fantasy vs historical fiction?
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
The mystery itself wasn't that great, now that I think about it... but who cares? :)
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed on my blog WOCreads

The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee is the second book in the Agency series around young Mary Quinn, a biracial detective in Victorian London. Now part of the Agency and with more detective training, Mary’s second case requires her to don the disguise of a young boy and solve a murder at a building site.

I really enjoyed the first book, the series is great for all of us who enjoy Victorian age mysteries but w
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
DNF at 50-something percent. Wish I'd known this wasn't going to be a safe read. Don't care that it's appropriate to the period; James rubbing it in Mary's face that he's been with the bar maid is not cool - especially in a series that's supposed to be acceptable for ages 12+. Didn't even have to be mentioned at all. Really interesting series otherwise, but that ruined it for me.
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-ya, young-adult
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
Nancy Meservier
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
Emma Rose Ribbons
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
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the series.
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)
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star, ya, 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
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
5 stars

Another good installment in the series. Reading about espionage is always fun. Glad that Mary is almost a full-fledged agent. Nice to see James East on and Mary interacting again. Will he learn that she's a detective/spy? What will happen to their relationship/friendship now that she told him she use to be a thief? It's always nice seeing spies in their disguises. Hope Mary will become a full-fledged agent soon. Also hope James will get better soon. Can't wait to read The Traitor in the T
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:
Sharon Michael
Mar 15, 2015 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.

Sep 26, 2010 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.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jay by: mother
If Mr James Easton doesn't come back in "The Traitor In The Tunnel" so help me, I will riot.
That ending... oh my gosh. I am not coherent right now, that is how upset I am. Don't get me wrong! This book was fabulous! And the story amazing- the historical events unfolding so nicely, storyline and subplot coming together- but UGH. I am so very much unhappy with how things ending with James. So, so, so very, very, very, VERY unhappy with how that ended. This whole book, all that romantic tension, my
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars. I decided I was curious enough to read this (and Katie requested my opinion...), and this isn't terrible. Which I know sounds like damning with faint praise, but is actually not. I think this book is in the same situation as the Veronica Speedwell books for me. Essentially, the premise is absurd, and so I'm less than sold, especially on the first book. But by the time I get to the second
book, I know what I'm getting into, so any historical inaccuracies/absurdities are less jarring.

Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the mystery in this book much more compelling than in the first Agency book. I like a mystery book that keeps me trying to figure it out but doesn't give it away (I was wrong in my conclusions ;). James and Mary still carried on their banter that made me want to continue reading the series in the first place and I am curious where they are going next.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good mystery with Ms Quinn, working undercover as a boy, for the Agency. Fun book.
Sarah Ressler Wright
Good sequel to The Agency -plucky heroine and gold mystery. Very clean and I do love Victorian London.
Even more fun than the first book, I feel like the side characters were better fleshed out. Other than that, please see my review of the first book in the series.
Ok, let me just say that I love the idea of a girl dressing up as a boy in order to exist in a society where her gender would normally hinder her. That is, I don’t like that girls had to do such a thing, but I find the idea compelling because I think every girl has wondered at some point in her life, if she’s socially aware, what it would be like if she was a boy. Life would be profoundly different. No cat-calls or wage gap. Jerk men would always listen to you, unless of course they were just je ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleasant enough read. The case in this book didn’t interest me as much as the case in book one did. The best parts were any scenes with Mary and James together. I love their dynamic. On to number three...
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was hesitant about this series. The first book was a little less exciting. However, I quite enjoyed this one and am excited to see what the rest of the series holds.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ladies dressing up as boys to get stuff done is one of my favorite archetypes so this book is exactly the sort of story I like. However, it didn't seem to me that Mary did much investigating, more waiting around to see if info would fall into her lap. And she seemed to take careless risks with her disguise. The plot of this installment seems a bit limp in comparison with the others. I stilled enjoyed it, but would have preferred a little more sleuthing and adventure.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 24, 2015 08:35AM  

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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

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)
“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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