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Home » Authors, Carol K Carr, Doll Noa, Reviewers, Reviews

Review: India Black by Carol K Carr

Submitted by on July 28, 2011 – 5:00 am4 Comments

Author: Carol K Carr
Book: India Black
Release: January 4, 2011
Series: India Black 1
Reviewer: Noa
Source: Personal Library
Purchase:AmazonBook Depository

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.

One would think that since I collected over 100 books at BEA in May I wouldn’t need to even visit a bookstore during my stay in New York. Yeah, like that would happen. But what to get? Following my ‘if you get free books try something new’ policy I decided to check out something new in the mystery department. And there, right next to a few old favorites I saw India Black by Carol K Carr. The synopsis sounded intriguing but I nearly laughed out loud when I read the first line of the book’s preface:

“My name is India Black. I am a whore.”

I had to have it. Overweight suitcases be damned!

India Black is in fact more of a retired whore – she is now the Madame of the Lotus House brothel in 1876 London, managing other ‘tarts’ and working on her pension fund. The story is told from her perspective and India’s dry often sarcastic storytelling make for a wonderful read.

One of India’s… employees loses a client but sadly Sir Archibald Latham didn’t have the decency to die at home, leaving India with a body to get rid of as police tend to frown upon brothels.

And this is where things get complicated. While India tries to get rid of Sir Archibald, she is interrupted by a mysterious gentleman – one who offers to help her finish the job, then asks for a certain file – one that India knows nothing about.

Soon India is embroiled in political intrigue, secret agents, Christian reformers, Russian diplomacy, Disraeli and Gladstone. Which leads us back to the mysterious gentleman – Only known as French – French works for prime minister Disraeli and together with others within the government is trying to retrieve files that were in the keeping of the now deceased Sir Archibald.

Disraeli enlists (kidnap, enlist what’s the difference really?) India and her special expertise to help get the missing files back and what the reader is left with is a rollicking (love that word) tale.

This is Carol K Carr’s first book and it left me with that wonderful feeling of good things to come. Ms. Carr’s heroine is well written – yes, the outlook might occasionally be a bit too sunny and idealized for what the world of a 19th century prostitute would have been like but Carr’s and India’s narration is a humorous one. This is not Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders or a Dickensian look at society. This is a humorous historical mystery – and a good one at that.

India does get herself into some pretty crazy situations but for some reason – it works. And while there might be a few points in the story where it drags a little the other characters including French the mysterious agent and Vincent the dirty smelly yet endearing street urchin make the plot go right back on track.

By the end of the book French and India’s respective histories are still a mystery – one I can’t wait for Ms. Carr to unfold in the next book in the series which is set to be released in October.

Also Reviewed By: Dear AuthorDiary of a Book Addict

Noa first fell in love with books when she discovered 100 acre wood and its inhabitants. To this day, the last pages of “The House at Pooh Corner” make her cry. In a good way. From“Calvin and Hobbes” to “The Iliad and the Odyssey” and lets not forget “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes”. Biographies, mysteries, history books and romances all have a place on her bookshelves. Who needs furniture? This 29 year old singleton’s dream is to invent the zero-calorie chocolate. But until that day arrives, she tries to create sweet confections with whatever chocolate she can find. An MA in conflict studies (need a mediator?) means Noa loves a good debate, especially when she wins. If she were in charge, books would be free for everyone.
Doll Noa
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4 Comments »

  • Mona Leigh says:

    Wow! This sounds right up my alley. Nothing like a good mystery, a house of ill repute, and spies to get my pulse beating.

    Definitely on my TBR list now.

  • Denise Z says:

    This sounds like a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing today.

  • Doll Noa says:

    Mona – I really enjoyed it, it had a few farce like moments but in a good way :D I really can’t wait to find out more about French and India – so many mysteries to unfold.

    Denise – Lots of fun and a heroine who has smarts and a dry sense of humor.

  • [...]    Thursday Noa reviewed India Black by Carol K Carr 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. Read Noa’s review Here [...]

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