The Body at the Tower


Author: Y.S.Lee

Publisher: Walker Books (2010)

Pages: 352

Synopsis: In this, the second book of the series, Mary Quinn sets out to uncover the truth behind a suspicious death at St Stephen’s Tower, better known as the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The accident occurred after hours in a highly public part of town and despite the presence of night watchmen. Mary, disguised as Mark Quinn, becomes a builder’s assistant to find out the truth about The Body at the Tower.

Available at: The Book Depository UK; The Book;


Mary Quinn and (cue tiny flying hearts) James Easton are back, people! *swoons*

It’s an awful thing to say but, thank heavens that person fell down the Big Ben (the man was a bastard anyway) or else Mary and James wouldn’t have met in such priceless circumstances: she was dressed as a boy. *pause to laugh* Of course it didn’t beat their first metting way back in book one -inside a closet-, but I’m sure Mary found it equally embarassing, and James equally amusing. That said, I’ll gladly admit that I enjoyed this second book as much as I enjoyed the first one, even if it’s kind of hard to believe a 17 or 18-year-old woman could pass for a 12-year-old boy, and, by the way, still be considered a “small lad” (I’m not quoting, but someone at some point says something of the kind), I mean, come on! She’s not that small, is she? Are you, Mary? I’m inclined to believe Victorian english 12-year-old boys were giants. Moving on!

So Mary goes on her second mission for the Agency, she must mingle with a bunch of construction workers to find out  how that despicable Wick –The Body at the Tower him(it?)self- died. Meanwhile, James comes back from India (Thank the Lord Ganesha!) and is immediately given the job of writing the safety review (for obvious reasons) of that same working site/crime scene – yes, where Mary is. So once again these two end up joining forces in order to unravel a crime/mystery. Hurray! 😀

If you ask me, I think they had a good puzzle to solve. I never saw it coming, but then again, I’m always clueless when it comes to find out the true culprit in a plot of the kind, no matter how many episodes of Poirot I watch.  But, it’s  Mary and James’ interaction I’m always most interest in (I know, romantic-silly me!), so the crimes are welcome (again, awful thing to say) if that’s what it takes to have them doing stuff together. Nevertheless, if I put their relationship aside for just a moment, I can mention other things I like in this series, such as, the history facts and “lessons” that are cool enough for me to want to learn more about it after the book is over (- seriously, I read the Big Ben Wikipedia page  -don’t laugh, I learned a lot!-  like, it doesn’t have an elevator to reach the top, even nowadays). Also, I have the feeling there are more dramatic events in The Body at the Tower when compared to A Spy in the House; there’s a orphaned kid with baby sisters to raise; a young widow who used to be abused by her husband and now has so many children to feed yet so little food to do it; because of this mission Mary goes through a few hard times confronting her personal demons, especially when she reveals some of them to James at the end (heartbreaking! Don’t just stand there, say/do something you fool! Cliffhanger! NOOOO!); and even James gets a share of drama, coming back from India all weak and feverish. (So, arrogant men aren’t immune to Malaria. Interesting.)

Speaking of James, I absolutely loved when he:

  • took Mary to his office for dinner – and the maid comes in: laugh-out-loud scene;
  • took Mary to his house for a bath – EPIC. Seriously, I think he’ll discharge the governess if she sends the nightshirt Mary wore to wash;
  • saved her from falling off the tower at the end – besides the self-explanatory part of why I liked this scene, I loved their almost 5 minutes of privacy afterwards (damn you, Barker! Why did you have to be so quick and interrupt?)

Hopes and wishes for the third and last book in the series – The Traitor and the Tunnel, coming out in the spring of 2011:

  • poor Mary needs to know more about her father – or else her tiny little heart won’t have a rest;
  • I also think she needs a bit of normalcy in her life, even if this means she has to abandon her spy career…I don’t know! I’m just speculating here!
  • James must do something besides being an arse and just saying What if I call the police on you? Why tell me? Why tell me now? – or else I’ll send my The Agency books flying through the window. ( *sigh* Not really…and I know he’ll do something good. Once every one thousand years an engineer does something good, so I’m sure he can seize this one time opportunity to make Mary happy. So, GO JAMES, GO! Run like the wind, my cherished idiot! :))

Rating: 8/10

7 Responses to “The Body at the Tower”

  1. 1 quigui

    Oh, this series sounds like fun. Mystery with Humour?

  2. 3 p7

    I’m starting to love your reviews, because they usually make me root for the book’s couple even though I haven’t read the book…

    Now I’ve become interested in this one! I can’t resist a heroine that dresses up like a boy and does stuff like a boy instead of being a delicate flower. xD

    • Now, that’s a nice thing to hear, thank you!:D

      Well, that’s great, because Mary and James will definitely need all the support they can get to end up together! (Mostly because he’s stupid!) That’s the thing about Mary, she’s a good girl but not at all a delicate flower, she’ll put some pants on whenever she needs to, run, fight, etc, and yet she’s vulnerable. She’s a good character:)

      • 5 p7

        I’m starting to think guys are always the moronic part of the couple. 😛 As for Mary, I’m liking her more and more. Girl power in Victorian times is always cute. ^^

      • Haha, most of them certainly are! They can be so clueless when it comes to understand what the girl is trying to say, it’s actually funny to watch xD

  1. 1 Top Ten Tuesday – Finais que me deixaram de boca aberta | Cuidado com o Dálmata

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