Title: India Black
Author: Carol K. Carr
Page Count: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: historical mystery
Copy for review compliments of the public library
When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.
Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.
I love historical mysteries anyway, but throw a unique narrator into the mix and I'm pretty much hooked. India Black fits this bill perfectly; she's snarky and independent and not afraid to take decisive action, and when things go awry, she's the first one to point that out too.
The synopsis sums up the plot of the book pretty efficiently; India finds herself unwillingly engaged in government service to retrieve some documents that a War Office employee had the bad manners to bring to her establishment while he was there as a client. The muckety mucks are not at all thrilled to have a madam assisting them, and are kind of embarrassed to be associated with her at all, but her unique skills and talents help them to gain entry to delicate situations much more quickly than they'd ever manage on their own.
Also unique to this story was her interactions with French, the spy. India has been around the block enough times that she doesn't get caught up in the "does he like me? I mean like me like me?" quagmire that bogs so many female leads down, but it was interested that we as the readers totally see French trying to protect her and be chivalrous towards her (IE I think he likes her likes her) and she just blows him off. She's so used to seeing people's baser nature that it doesn't register with her when they act any differently, which is fertile ground for developments in future books.
While there weren't any huge surprises or revelations in the resolution of the story, it was wrapped up nicely and most details were taken care of to my satisfaction as a reader. I was excited to find out that the next installment in this series will be out in October and you can count me in for reading it when it does.
Overall Grade: B+
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