Plot or Premise
An orphan in the mid-1800s is diverted from the gallows to a school for girls, gets her high school education, and graduates to become an operative for a special investigating Agency of women run by the heads of the school.
What I Liked
The story has a very strong “Anne Perry” historical fiction feel to it, but without the constant discussion of Jane Austen-style society. The mystery is solid, the characters are rich, and the investigator — Mary Quinn — is inexperienced, which shows in some of her actions. I didn’t guess the outcome, although I suspected some of it, and the hint of romance improves the flavour as it goes. She is more active than the Anne Perry-style heroines, and it shows as she breaks into various places.
What I Didn’t Like
Her age is a bit distracting as she is 17 passing for 20, which no one really believes.
The Bottom Line
Best mystery I have read all year