Queen Victoria has a little problem: there’s a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary’s onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? – Goodreads
It is always a delight to return to Victorian London in Y.S. Lee’s The Agency series. Although the first book in the series, A Spy in the House, probably remains my favorite, The Traitor in the Tunnel was a great addition to Mary’s adventures.
Y.S. Lee made The Traitor in the Tunnel the most personal chapter to Mary’s story yet. While posing undercover as a maid at Buckingham Palace, she becomes aware of a murder that has ties to her past. Her history has always been a mystery itself so it was great to finally uncover more details. Mary was filled with so much hope, but there was also dread and sadness; Y.S. Lee made these feelings very palpable as Mary navigated through her discoveries.
The other central mystery had Mary investigating thefts and secret tunnels. I must admit that I wasn’t completely engaged in these storylines, but they perfectly displayed Mary’s intelligence and tenacity. Plus, the mysteries brought my favorite duo back together.
Mary and James, gah, these two have some of the most incredible chemistry I’ve found in any couple. After their last encounter in The Body at the Tower I was a little worried about their reunion and future interactions, but I had no need to worry. Y.S. Lee had me feeling absolutely gleeful over their bantering, bickering and, yes, their kissing. SWOON CITY, I love these two, and I can’t imagine any scenario where I would grow bored of them. You know those couples that are so just blah and bland? Definitely not Mary and James. They are interesting on their own, make an amazing team together, and are a perfect balance for each other. Favorites!
I’m so glad that there’s another book in the series heading our way. I really love the turn of events at the end of The Traitor in the Tunnel and it can only mean more growth and awesome for the characters I’ve grown to love.
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