At the ripe old age of twelve Mary Quinn is about to be hanged as a thief when she sees a woman in the courtroom wink at her. Mysteriously, she is saved by this woman and brought to the Academy where she is trained as a spy. Four years later she goes on her first case and is undercover as a chaperone for a headstrong daughter of a very rich merchant. This merchant, Mr. Thorold,is suspected of stealing ancient treasures from other cultures and smuggling them in to England.
It is Mary's job to get evidence to prove his guilt. She finds herself entwined in an odd mix of betrayal by the man's sickly wife, intrigue by the man's secretary and the spoiled daughter and the curiously attractive James Easton who appears to be seeking information on Mr. Thorold for his own purposes.
As James and Mary work together, their attraction for each other builds against their own plans and determination. The dialogue sparks and the mystery is filled with deception. Through it all Mary is a strong character who works to solve her case and finds answers to the mystery in her own background as well. A great read. 352 pages
Just when she is becoming restless with her life she learns that the Academy is really a disguise for a covert group of female spies known as the Agency. They want Mary to join their ranks and become one of their spies.
Mary is asked to become a lady’s companion to the daughter of a man suspected of fraud and smuggling. While she is working in the house maybe she will overhear incriminating evidence to convict him.
Once there she doesn’t know who to trust and also finds that she is not the only one trying to find evidence against Mr. Thorold. She also finds it harder and harder to hide her secret about her heritage.
This story is set in 1850’s in Victorian England and the author brings in many subplots of romance, mystery, intrigue, action and suspense. A great start to a new mystery/detective series.