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The Agency 3: The Traitor in the Tunnel Hardcover – February 28, 2012

Book 3 of 4 in the Agency Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Victorian England comes alive again with Y.S Lee’s third novel in THE AGENCY series. Lee has a terrific knack of combining intrigue, romance, and mystery with the strong female character, Mary Quinn... Girls of all ages will enjoy the fast pace, the twisting plot, and most of all, the romance that awaits them.
—VOYA

Lee, as ever, paints an evocative picture of London life... Mary makes for a bold heroine (sometimes too bold for her own good), and her fans will want to find out how it all ends.
—Booklist

About the Author

Y. S. Lee was born in Singapore but brought up in Canada. She has also lived briefly in the United Kingdom. An academic with a PhD in Victorian literature and culture, she wrote Masculinity and the English Working Class in Victorian Autobiography and Fiction. She lives in Ontario, Canada.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: The Agency (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763653160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763653163
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,097,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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 quartet continues with The Body at the Tower and The Traitor and the Tunnel, both of which were nominated for awards. Rivals in the City, coming in February 2015, is the final book in the Agency series. All four books are published by Candlewick Press (US/Canada) and Walker Books (UK/Australia). The novels have also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Turkish.

In her previous life as an academic, Ying wrote Masculinity and the English Working Class (Routledge). She now lives in Kingston, Ontario.

She blogs every Wednesday at yslee.com.

Customer Reviews

Though either way I'd be happy.
Nicola Mansfield
One of the reasons that I love the Agency series by YS Lee is the fact that Mary is half Chinese.
Muggle-Born
Plot well done for those who enjoy mystery.
Elizabeth M. Galaska

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

An excellent finale to "The Agency" trilogy. Mary Quinn's character has grown from a rag-tag orphan thief to a young woman now ready to live independently in a world where men usually have the upperhand. This was a fun case all-round, which has Mary playing parlour maid inside Buckingham Palace to rout out who has been stealing odd pieces of ornamentation, all to no avail. However when she thinks the case is not going to go any further, the details of the murder of a friend of the Prince of Wales is being kept all "hush-hush" and the Prince has been banished to seclusion. Now here is a case Mary can sink her teeth into! But how is it related to the thefts and why does Mary think she may have finally found her father.

Many issues that have been brought up previously in this series are put together and solved to the reader's satisfaction. By the end of the book one quite forgets they are reading a YA novel, and feels more like they are in a Gothic Romance. Mary is a feisty woman and her paramour James seems to like that in a woman because nothing she says, does, or reveals shocks him. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale.

Now, we've been told this is the end of a trilogy and the book does have a finite ending in certain respects, while in others there is still plenty of openings for a new trilogy or series to continue from here; perhaps more of an adult read than YA. Though either way I'd be happy. Towards the end of the book, James and Mary had a decidedly Tommy and Tuppence air about them and I'd love to see them together in their own series aimed at adults.

ETA: Well after a little looking around it seems this is no longer being tooted as the last book in the series and Lee is indeed currently writing a fourth book about Mary Quinn! Good news to my ears! We'll see if she uses this opportunity to make any changes to the series or just continues on with it. I'm happy either way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mel Rose on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
POSSIBLE SPOILERS
The Agency 3: The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee continues the story of Mary Quinn. This time she has to pose as a parlor maid in the Queen Victoria's household to solve a case of petty thief. However, while she's there, the Prince witnesses a murder of one of his friends. To make matters worse, Mary finds out the murderer has the same name as her father.

I really love this series and have enjoyed each and every one so far, so I couldn't wait to get this book and read it. This book is no exception. Just when you think you got things figured out, a new twists comes into play.

It was nice to read more about Mary in this book as well and about her father. It went into more detail about what happened, or what she knew about her father, and her reaction to the fact that her father might still be alive.

Also, James comes back into this book, much to the surprise of Mary. In the last book, Mary and James didn't leave things as pleasant and she's afraid of that repeating itself. However, James wants nothing more than to bury that in the past and start over. Which is great because I'm really liking the two of these together. And if you're like me and like them, let's just say, you'll LOVE what happens! I don't want to spoil it too much, but towards the end of the book, there some really good moments and well, I'm very happy. :)

Because there is a mystery involving the tunnels below the Palace, most of what happens, especially later on in the novel, takes place in the tunnels or the sewers. While that's great as far as the mystery goes, it can get a little boring. James and Mary have great interaction during this process, but sometimes I felt myself wanting to skim.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Perspicacious Bookworm on May 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After reading all three books in this series, I have got to say that my favorite thing about them is the characters. Mary and James are complex, funny, and an absolute delight to read about! Mary and James also have great "chemistry" and you will often find yourself laughing out loud at their witty banter. While the actual mystery they are supposed to be solving tends to take a backseat to their relationship (to the point that you almost forget you are reading a mystery novel), the dilemma is always solved in a fast-paced action sequence that leaves the reader satisfied. Plus, James and Mary are so darn lovable that you are always left wanting more of them (fourth book please?!) and don't mind the plot straying from the investigation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an immense fan of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries and all the many derivatives in its many formats. Recently I discovered Y.S. Lee's series, "Mary Quinn Mystery: The Agency". This review covers all three books.

At age 12, Mary Quinn is rescued from the gallows by the head teacher at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, an `unusual institution" that offers special training to certain chosen girls. Mary is clever, fierce and ambitious--not the sort of girl held in high regard in Victorian England, but exactly the kind recruited by the Academy. The Academy, it turns out, is headquarters for The Agency, a secret organization devoted to training female detectives. Here, girls are trained in the Holmes' tradition, to "think rationally, to carry themselves with confidence, and to stand by their opinions."

The characters are complex and compelling, especially Mary Quinn. Unlike typical characters in many series where main characters remain static, Mary evolves over the course of the three novels, as is expected as she grows and excels in her profession, and as she struggles to come to terms with her personal history. Equally enticing is her simmering relationship, defined by the snappy repartee, with the handsome James Easton. This is particularly true of Book Three. But the secondary characters are also vividly realized. And my favorites include Alfred Quigley (Book One), the appealing poverty stricken imp; the observant and humorous Octavius Jones (Book Two); and the `feckless' Prince of Wales (Book Three).

The gritty landscape of Victorian London is as realized a character as Mary Quinn: the lush surroundings of the privileged; the Thames River oozing with waste, roiling in the sweltering heat; the dark alleys infested with gut-wrenching poverty.
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