Friday, November 5, 2010

India Black-Carol K. Carr

India Black
Carol K. Carr
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425238660

In the winter 0f 1876, London is freezing; but the arctic like weather does not prevent customers from going to the Lotus House brothel owned by India Black. She is a cheerful woman with wit and a true knowledge of human depravity. This does not disturb her in the slightest as she knows how her world acts. Her life becomes complicated when one of her patrons, Bowser AKA Sir Archibald Latham serving high up in the War Office dies while with the whore Arabella.

When India tries to dispose of the corpse, she is caught by French, an agent who works for Prime Minster Disraeli. Rather than go to gaol, she agrees to give him the case that Bauer brought with him. However that is missing as is Arabella. French needs to retrieve it as it contains British troop strengths that the Russians want because they plan to invade the Ottoman Empire. When they go to the hotel Russians accost them with Arabella as one of them. French is determined to obtain the papers and India is resolute in her assisting him.

This exhilarating espionage epic does for the mid Victorian England what Peter Tremayne has done for ancient Ireland; bring the period alive to the time traveling armchair warrior. The lead pair is dynamic together as their chemistry proves the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in spite of her being lower class and him an aristocrat. The recovery story line readers like a fast-paced mystery with plenty of international intrigue including a horrendous Channel crossing to France Carol K. Carr provides an engaging thriller in whict hopefully is the opening act of a unique nineteenth century collaboration.

Harriet Klausner

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