A Madam of Espionage Mystery, No 1
Carol K. Carr
Berkley Prime Crime Trade
2011 /ISBN: 0425238660
Historical Mystery / England / Late 1800s
by Carmen Ferreiro
As the book starts, India Black, the madam of a
discreet and successful London brothel, is quite content with her
life. The income from her establishment allows her the freedom to
be herself and not to have to answer to any man. A freedom that,
this being 1876, is quite rare for a woman.
But her tranquil existence ends suddenly on a perfectly
ordinary Sunday, when one of her clients, a lord and civil servant
in the War Office, dies in her house and the case with secret papers
he was carrying, mysteriously disappears.
Blackmailed by French, a handsome spy that works
for the prime minister, India is forced to help him rescue the case
from the hands of the evil Russian spies they suspect have taken
it. Armed with her wits, her good looks and her trusted revolver,
India follows French and the case taking the reader with her in
a most thrilling adventure.
I loved this book. It brings alive again the streets
of London that Dickens so well described in his books. We even meet
one of the urchins, Vincent, an ugly boy of undetermined age, who
provides India with valuable and illegal help.
India, herself, is a great character, strong and
independent, and her attraction to French, evident from their first
encounter, adds a layer of romance to an altogether enjoyable read.