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Rivals In The City (2014)

by Y.S. Lee(Favorite Author)
3.9 of 5 Votes: 5
1406337625 (ISBN13: 9781406337624)
The Agency
review 1: I couldn't remember much of the previous books because it's been so long but it was very easy to follow anyway. When the first Mary Quinn book came out it was quite unique in its niche genre - Victorian mystery with a female detective and a strong feminist agenda that defined the Agency she was working for. Rivals in the City didn't live up to that and a lot of better (in my opinion) books have been published in that genre since then. Here, I felt that the mystery was extremely thin (there was none to speak of) and Mary's romance with James didn't add anything to the story at all - she sacrifices all her ideals, everything I absolutely love about her - her questioning society's rules, her love for her own apartment (there's a beautiful passage about that in the book, about... more the freedom of not having to make three square meals if you don't want to, all sorts of small details about what one really appreciates when living alone which I strongly identified with) and hard-earned independence, please let's not forget that at the time a woman's possessions and money belonged entirely to her husband - for convention. It's hard to swallow because as much as the author tried to make me like James - he opposes the rampant racism around him, he promises Mary he'll always respect her, etc - he's incredibly commonplace. I liked reading this book, it was pleasant, but I think it could have been wonderful if it had been less traditional, more different.
review 2: Entertaining and fun, but this felt like an unnecessary afterthought to what I would have considered an appropriate ending in the third book. The mystery plot felt a little far-fetched and had some holes. There were also gaps that could easily have been filled in without dragging out the story. Meanwhile, some of the other elements of the story were too wordy. Some of the snark from the previous volumes was also lacking, primarily because of the present state of the relationship between James and Mary. Too often, a pleasant set of circumstances between a couple makes for dull writing. Worthwhile for completists, but not my favorite in the series. less
Reviews (see all)
Another satisfying, adventurous Mary Quinn book! Suspenseful with great surprises.
Half Chinese female detective in 1860 working equally with a man - great stuff
Might as well give it 5 stars now!!!
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