Review: India Black and the Widow of Windsor by Carol K Carr
Author: Carol K Carr
Book: India Black and the Widow of Windsor
Release: October 4, 2011
Series: Madam of Espionage #2
Source: ARC supplied by Publisher
Purchase: – Book Depository
Black is back-Her Majesty’s favorite spy is off to Scotland in this new adventure to ensure the Queen doesn’t end up getting killed.
When Queen Victoria attends a séance, the spirit of her departed husband, Prince Albert, insists she spend Christmas at their Scottish home in Balmoral. Prime Minister Disraeli suspects the Scottish nationalists plan to assassinate the Queen-and sends the ever resourceful India and the handsome British spy, French, to the Scottish highlands.
French will take the high road, looking for a traitor among the guests-and India will take the low road, disguised as a servant in case an assassin is hiding among the household staff. India is certain that someone at Balmoral is determined to make this Her Majesty’s last Christmas…
Well, the Madam of espionage is back! In the second installment of Carol K Carr’s series India gets to go to Scotland, temporarily changes her occupation and tangles once again with the deliciously mysterious (and mysteriously delicious) Mr. French.
When we get reacquainted with India she is slightly in the dumps – being a Madam just isn’t as exciting and fun as it used to be and really, all the day-to-day beuracracy is getting tedious.
So when Dizzy (Prime Minister Disraeli) invites her and Mr. French over for a drink, and requests her help in exposing a plot to assassinate Queen Victoria. India is intrigued and while she tries to play hard to get (and fails miserably) she decides to join French on a visit to Balmoral, Queen Victoria’s highland retreat for Christmas. French gets to disguise himself among the aristocratic guests and India is left with the job of being lady’s maid to Dowager Marchioness of Tullibardine.
Of course, our beloved and noisome street urchin Vincent also comes along for the ride and what can I say, I really think he and the Marchioness should get their own series!
The Dowager is simply hilarious. Her snuff-loving habits get her (and India) into all kinds of sticky (sorry, but literally) situations and as you get to know her, you realize something is going on in that mind of hers. She also plays a part in the “big tease” of this book and when I say big, I mean it!
As India attempts to find clues that will reveal the identity of the assassin, while taking care of the marchioness – a full time job in itself, the reader gets to enjoy India’s wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor and her snarky outlook on all things royal, men and well, everything really. In fact, India’s internal dialogue is one of m favorite things about this book. Then there are those sparks that seem to explode right off the page whenever India and French (What is his first name???) are together.
The mystery in Widow of Windsor still takes center stage and though it sometimes seems like India and French are flailing in their investigation, I actually like the fact that things don’t just come to them and arrange themselves perfectly. As for the character development, we do get to learn more about each of the characters – even if only through hints and suggestive comments, but as Ms. Carr said herself in the interview she shared with PBD today – she will be teasing us a bit on that front. There is quite a major tidbit that comes into play at the end of the book (see above big tease) and has made me slightly impatient for the next book in this series.
I did kind of hope to get a bit more of French and India shared “on screen” time but I also appreciate that given the premise of the series – we will need to be patient with them. I also actually found myself missing the Lotus House – India’s brothel. There were just so many fun scenarios there and I hope we get to revisit its (un)hallowed portals in the next installment.
India Black had so much potential I was absolutely sure that this could be the beginning of a very beautiful book-ationship. I can now say that this series is on my automatic buy list. It has mystery, adventure, a completely awesome heroine and a potentially swoon worthy hero.
And if that isn’t enough you will fall in love with Vincent. You know, once he takes a bath.
Also Reviewed By: – Carol’s Notebook