Book Review: A Body at the Tower (Agency #2) – Y.S. Lee

Hello everyone 🙂

I hope everyone is having a lovely week full of reading and relaxing (I know I haven’t had time to relax but maybe some of you have!!)

I wanted to share a review for A Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee. This is the second book in the Agency series. I wrote a review for the first book of the series – you can check it out here.


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 a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city’s needy doesn’t distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend – or flame – just might.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book!! Just right off the bat – this was an easy read, fast read, and overall it was fun and exciting. I never felt bored or like I didn’t want to finish it. I was constantly saying “just one more chapter” and I finished the book VERY fast!

The reader follows Mary Quinn, the undercover female detective through Victorian London where she is back at solving a mystery. This time, the story takes an interesting turn when Mary goes undercover as a boy! She has to deal with a lot of horrible things such as hunger, poor living conditions, and hard work conditions. However, she is able to tap into her own childhood background which was mainly comprised of hunger, homelessness, and struggle. She fits the part as the poor apprentice boy and is able to blend in and gain the trust of the men she works with. She of course, meets up with her romantic interest from the first book and must work with him to solve the mystery.

Mary as a character is amazing. She’s strong, independent, smart, and feisty. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. She really is able to hold herself which is such an amazing quality, especially since this book is set in Victorian London where females are not normally like that (or allowed to be like that). Because she is so strong and independent her relationship with the male character (James) can be tricky at times. I really liked there back and forth and bickering. I felt it was playful and fun. It also really fit with Mary’s character since she had to stick up for herself and prove she doesn’t “need” James several times. James was quite interesting as well. He typically tried to put Mary into that normal female role but would realize quickly that Mary would not go into that role. He was challenged and overall quite accepting of her and her personality which was nice. He never just blew her off. However, he was realistic and would often tell her when she needed to go into that woman role for her own safety and for his reputation as well.

The overall poverty and struggle in the book is eye opening. I really enjoyed the history aspect and being opened up to gender roles and expectations of that time. Mary’s childhood history is brought up and in great detail. It created an overarching empathy for her. It also made me feel so confident in her abilities and how strong she is. It made me really think about how females must have felt growing up in this time (especially the females in poverty). It gave the story depth and was eye opening to say the least.

Plot wise – I felt it was very well written. I could not even guess who the “bad guy” was in this one. I was shocked by it to be honest! I loved that it felt like I was Mary piecing everything together and then also confused and unsure with her. I didn’t know what was happening until it was literally written right in front of me which I love in a story. I don’t really like figuring it out early on in the story and then just sitting on it. One other thing I loved was that the story was detailed but it wasn’t overwhelming detailed that I found myself confused or bored. It was actually perfect, I felt like I knew everything I needed to and whatever I didn’t know was brought up at the appropriate time in the right way.

I really can’t say anything super negative about this book. I think it was better than the first one for sure!! So if you enjoyed the first one (or didn’t enjoy it) I would suggest reading the second one because it really takes that next step and is quite fabulous.  

My rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

(More like 4.5/5)

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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