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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: India Black by Carol K. Carr

India Black by Carol K. Carr
Book 1 of the Madam of Espionage Mystery series
Paperback, 304 pages
Berkley Trade
January 4, 2011
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Source: Received from author for review during blog tour
“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 her handsome conspirator.”
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I had not read an HF/Mystery book before and my experience with novelized prostitutes or “ladies of the night” was next to nothing. I didn't know if this was going to be bawdy or what. If you are having these same thoughts when regarding this book, let those fly away because this was a hilariously funny read. Yes, much of it takes place in a brothel, but the comedy that ensues in the process is awesome.

India Black is a wonderful narrator for this story – she is frank, open, and to the point. She speaks right to the reader and tells you just what is going on. I loved how she is retelling this story and adds in little tidbits here and there that you wouldn’t have know if this story was being told as it was happening. One of the strengths of the author is her descriptions, especially of her characters. Let me show you one of my favorite examples about a street urchin you will grow to love from early in the book:
“In summer, he attracted more flies than a Cairo camel market, and in winter you could just tolerate being in the same room provided the fire was low and the window cracked open” (30).

I also loved French, a British spy, he is so dashing if he is a little cold.  But he will certainly grow on you too.

Carol Carr is also superb at keeping the story moving along full speed ahead. You learn what you have to of back story but you don’t get bogged down in it. It really is a lively romp across England – by carriage, sleigh, foot, and boat! One of the ways she keeps you reading is the cliff hangers at the end of almost every chapter – for someone who likes to stop at the end of the chapter it is impossible to put down because you don’t stop for breath – must…keep…reading…

This is a light weight, fun, mystery. This would be perfect to read between two books that are heavy or very emotional because it lets you put your guard down. I am interested in reading book 2 and possibly beyond (if it is picked up for that). This would be a series I would always enjoy reading.

There were a couple of minor, trivial things that bothered me as I read, but the journey was so fun that by the time I reached the end and thought back over the book, I really can’t remember what they were! So they can’t have been that troubling.

In lieu of an excerpt, how about reading this short blog post written by none other than India Black about Valentine’s Day (a little late I know, but I couldn’t resist. It will give you the feel of the book).

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia 

Also by Carol K. Carr

rajahs ruby
India Black and the Rajah’s Ruby (Book 0.5)

widow of windsor
India Black and the Widow of Windsor (Book 2)

shadows of anarchy
India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (Book 3)

city of light
India Black and the City of Light (Book 3.5)

gentleman thief
India Black and the Gentleman Thief (Book 4)

Find Carol K. Carr: Website

Here are the other stops in this blog tour:

*March 8th and 9th: Let Them Read Books
*March 14th: Deb's Book Bag
*March 19th: Historical Tapestry
*March 15th and 16th: Chrisbookarama 
*March 16th and 17th: One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
March 17th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader

* Guest post, interview, and or giveaway

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I looooved this one -- it made my top 10 of 2010. Such fun -- I am impatiently waiting for the second India Black novel.

  2. I just loved India - she was so much fun!! I can't wait for the next one.

  3. India is a fabulous character, I cant wait for her next adventure!


  4. Audra, Daphne, Dizzy C - I am on board with you!

  5. Awesome review Heather! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Every review I've read about this book makes me more and more eager to read it. You mentioned great characterizations, and to me characters are the backbone of the story.

  7. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed India Black, I had been thinking about picking it up and now will definitely have to read it.

  8. Linda - The characters are the absolute back bone of this story - and they are so crazy! I know you will love it.

    Jessica - it won't be something you regret!

  9. It sounds like such a fun and fast moving book. Have to put this on my wish list. =)

  10. Shannon - it certainly is fun and fast paced!

  11. Thank you for the review. This sounds like my kind of book. The cover is wonderful,although it hints at a darker, more serious tone than you say the book has. Not a problem. For me, a sense of humor is a big plus in any book. One must never take themselves too seriously.

  12. Librarypat - The cover does suggest a darker tone - but it is such a fun read.

  13. I am so glad to see more HF + Mysteries being released.. it blends two of my favorite genres. I do hope to read this, your review made it sound worthwhile for its entertainment value.

  14. Marie - HF and Mysteries are my favorites and when they throw the two together they tend to make an effective combination!


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