The Agency: The Traitor in the Tunnel

Written by Y. S. Lee
Review by Vicki Kondelik

Mary Quinn, now a full-fledged member of the Agency, an all-female detective agency run out of a girls’ school in Victorian London, poses as a housemaid at Buckingham Palace to investigate a series of petty thefts. At first the case doesn’t appear to be much of a challenge for her, but matters become complicated when her love interest, engineer James Easton, is hired to repair the sewers under the palace. Readers of the previous volume in the series will remember that they parted on less than good terms after their last case. Then the Prince of Wales witnesses the murder of a dissolute young friend of his in an opium den, and the killer turns out to be a Chinese sailor with the same name as Mary’s long-lost father. Mary, who has kept her Chinese heritage a secret up to this point, is determined to help the man, whom she is convinced, after she visits him in prison, is her father – even though he denies it and refuses her help. But will she discover the truth of the case without involving the royal family in a scandal?

This is a wonderful series featuring a strong, independent heroine who is torn between her duty to the Agency, in spite of the rift between its leaders, her growing love for James, and her wish to have a life with her father, even if he is a drug-addicted killer. The banter between Mary and James is always fun to read, and will remind fans of Pride and Prejudice of the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy. If this is, indeed, the last of a trilogy, it provides a satisfying conclusion, but I hope that we will see many more adventures of Mary and James.