The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I much prefer this Mary to Mary Russell - even though they're both exceptional Victorian era women drawn to solving crimes, I think it's the Holmes tie-in that makes me dislike Russell and prefer Quinn.
Anyway, this Mary is hiding things from everyone: her real name, her ethnicity, and on this case, her gender. The sense of what it was like to work during the Victorian era fluctuates. At times the author gets it right, at other times it vanishes under the guise of "moving the plot forward", and there were moments when I thought that a bit of description had been tossed in for authenticity's sake rather than because we were truly in that world. I did like the fact that we weren't given pages of "this is what it was like to live during that time", on the other hand, and certain things were put in as though of course the reader would know about them. The mystery itself is one of those solved-at-the-last-moment ones, with the explication coming as a last-minute confession. I'm not fond of that device!
Still, the developing relationship between Mary and the Agency, Mary and James, and Mary and a few other characters who I'm sure will be back (like Jones and Jenkins) is enough to keep me interested in the next book in the series.
ARC provided by the publisher.
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