The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee Review

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Title: The Traitor in the Tunnel
Author: Y.S. Lee
Publisher: Candlewick
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Genre: YA, Mystery, Hist-Fic
Pages: 373
Source: Author

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? Hoist on your waders for Mary's most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn't be higher - and she has everything to lose.
Mary Quinn has seen her fair share of crime and mystery, but things are about to get even stickier. Posing as a maid in Buckingham Palace, she must catch a petty thief plaguing the Queen and the royals. What she does not expect, however, is the sinister plot she uncovers; one that is far murkier and messier than she had originally anticipated. Now, Mary is up to her elbows in lies, gossip and deceit, and for some reason, the Agency is unusually silent. She must navigate her way through the mystery and corruption to discover the underlying issue of the crime, and she must solve it quickly because things are about to go from bad to worse.

I’ve always been a bit iffy on the whole mystery and crime-solving genre because, let’s be honest, sometimes these series get so played out halfway through, and yet the books just keep coming! I’m so excited to say that this is definitely not the case with The Traitor in the Tunnel, which is the third book in the Agency series. Somehow, veteran author Y.S. Lee continues to deliver the drama and intrigue with each installment, upping the ante every time. Rather than sticking to a formulaic pattern for her mysteries, she continues to deviate from the mold, offering touches of sleight of hand with each and every turn. It’s safe to say that this is one of maze of a mystery that will keep you on your toes.

Mary Quinn is, as ever, every bit the heroine. Never petty or meek, she’s a fighter, and her spirit resonates throughout The Traitor in the Tunnel. What’s best about her is that she truly thinks things through with every action she takes, and her thought processes are true to life. Furthermore, she has such a sharp tongue, and it really adds a touch of humour to an otherwise very serious plot. My favourite part of the series that continues through this installment is the fact that no matter how chaotic and messy the mystery becomes, there is a witty undertone that adds an air of lightness. Even better, the dialogue is honest, funny and really entertaining; keeping me invested the story line and the mystery, itself. Most of all, The Traitor in the Tunnel continues to bring 1850s London to life in a way that’s both completely enticing and realistic. I felt like I was living in Mary’s world, and I was invested in the mystery – and yes, I guessed everything wrong, yet again. The plotline branches out, encompassing a whole realm of possibilities, which could be confusing for some, but I felt it worked quite well, wrapping in a fast-paced, heart-pounding way.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by the third installment of the Agency series. Y.S. Lee continues to raise the stakes each time, and I’m officially completely hooked (not to say I wasn’t before). I give it a very strong 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy mysteries and historical fiction.

I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I really want to give this series a try I love a good mystery! Great review!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. Nice review! I so need to catch up on these books, especially since I enjoyed the first one. Glad that Mary continues to be a great heroine! 

  3. Mary never disappoints! She's a fabulous character, and I'm sure you'll continue to love her story.

  4. I've been wanting to start this series for a long time but just haven't been able to yet.  You have me desperately wanting to read them RIGHT NOW!  So glad it was great!

  5. I have book 2 and it annoys the heck out of me, I need book 1

  6. I'm so glad! I think you'll really enjoy it. It's a lot of fun!

  7. Book one is definitely the one to get you off on the right foot ;)

  8. I gotta gotta try this series. Are they available as audios?

  9. Yup! I know the first two are available on Audible :)

  10. I'm usually wary of mysteries too. I don't know why. I've heard great things about Ms. Lee's series though. I love the idea of a historical mystery.

  11. Love historial fictions plus I've been getting into mysteries lately! Thanks for the lovely review :)

  12. I absolutely love this series! Even though I don't read mysteries or historical fiction much, somehow, these books never fail to captivate me. Can't wait to read the newest one! Great review!

  13. This is one of those series that I always hear nothing but good things about (albeit, not very often as it's not very popular), but still haven't gotten around to yet. I just know I would like the setting, mysteries, and Mary!

  14. You're right--sometimes the mystery thing can get played out. It's great to hear it's not with this one, though. I really need to pick up this series!

  15. This series is so full of awesome! I am already eager to read book four :)

  16. Mary is such a great character, eh? She's so strong and feisty, I love it.


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