India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (Madam of Espionage Mystery) Paperback – 13 Jun 2014
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"A Madam who does detective work for the British Government? Yes please!... This was a fun book. Not enough authors can inject humour into their work without turning an adventure into a comedy but Carr gets the balance right." --The Cult Den
"The end came and made me crave more. It's a good spy book with enough suspense to keep me hooked." ----Books For Life
About the Author
Carol K. Carr is the national bestselling author of the India Black series of mystery novels. A lawyer and corporate executive in a previous life, Carr now spends her time writing novels and indulging her interests in British Empire history, Elgar, shooting handguns and watching Rugby. She lives in the Missouri Ozarks with her husband and two German Shepherds.
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Top Customer Reviews
India Black, Madam to a bunch of tarts is in the heat of things again. She is called to duty and will have to infiltrate an anarchist cell. Dangerous business and she must do it without French ( I still need his secrets too btw!). People and buildings are getting blown up, but India had a good head on her shoulders and goes nowhere without her trusting gun.
We have a bunch of anarchist crying out for liberty, freedom and wanting to kill people. India trying to stay alive. A new trollop to school in (I am afraid amazon wont like the other word.) Where is French? Who is French? And the whole enigma of what was shouted out in the last book, who was India's mother really?
The end comes and makes me crave more. It's a good spy book with enough suspense to keep me hooked.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this one India's mission for Prime Minister Disraeli is to infiltrate an anarchist cell, the Dark Legion. Anarchy in the late 1800s was strong in England, emboldened by the dissatisfaction of the oppressed worker class and their resentment of the priviledged upper class. Government officials and lords alike were afraid for their lives, with all-too-frequent bombings and other attacks even hurting innocent people. India begins her assignment solo this time. French, the British spy who recruited her in the first book, is off, mysteriously, somewhere else.
That's all I'll say about the plot but I enjoyed this book even more than the previous ones. India is in full humorous, snarky, cynical mode and the story is from her unique POV and written in the first person. Some people are not fond of first person POV narrative but it really works here, given India's really funny, saucy, take-charge, no-nonsense attitude. She's smart and resourceful and has her head on straight, seeing the bad and good in everyone, but mostly expecting the bad. You need to read this without skipping or skimming because you won't want to miss any of her humorous (often LOL) observations about things, people and life in general.
This is historical mystery, not romance, and has lots of insight into the politics, culture and social conditions of the late Victorian era. If you're fond of romance you have to be a very patient romance reader. There's a budding relationship between India and French, but it's going really, really slowly. However, if you consider that the first book takes place in the winter of 1876 and this third one takes place in the spring of 1877, it's a very realistic time frame for romance to develop between two people from two very different walks of life.
What I really love about this third book is that we get lots more info about the mysterious, handsome British agent French. And India's past and parentage is slowly being uncovered. All good stuff.
In this novel, the government comes directly to India to ask her to infiltrate those nasty anarchists. The anarchists, on the run from their own lands (like Russia or France), recently have had the gall to knock off several highly-placed Englishmen, and that simply won't DO. As the prime minister and his henchmen have discovered, one of the connections to the anarchists is a prostitute at a rival brothel, and the gummint wants India to acquire the young woman, her knowledge, and her contacts. And that's just the beginning.
That easily could be done as a serious, even a depressing story. But it's a _funny_ book, because India is clever and snarky and the story is told in rather a light manner. The "mystery" is excellent; I never guessed what would happen next. Mostly, the writing is fabulous, imparting both character and attitude (OH BOY does she have attitude!): "[Character] charged through my study door like a Jersey cow whose calf I had taken for weaning. She was a stowt old bawd, with a Falstaffian girth and a course grey mustache fit for a sergeant major." Or "...I had spent my youth dodging predators through the streets of London and French [her spying partner whom we met in other books] had spent his sitting in some drab schoolroom with other little poncy bastards, conjugating Latin verbs."
(For those who are bothered by the setting in a brothel, I note that there's no actual sex shown, just intimated -- that the whores are paired off with the gents for the night, for example, or India admiring a fetching young man whom she thinks might be fun to get together with for an evening.)
I started reading the book and... well, I didn't do a whole lot else with my free time until I finished. This book is wonderful fun reading. It _could_ stand alone, but do yourself a favor and start with the first one, India Black. You won't be sorry.
India Black is the madam of a high-class brothel in Victorian England, but is also a secret agent, along with French, for Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
In this book India get to showcase her prowess at being a secret agent. P.M. Disraeli summons India to his office, to meet with him and Superintendent Stoke of Scotland Yard. Anarchists are running rampant in London killing off lords and earls at will. They want India to infiltrate the Dark Legion, to determine who the leader is, and put a stop to the killings.
French is off on another mission for the PM so it all up to India to handle this matter. Stoke tells India a prostitute that works in Seven Dials might be able provide some information about who the members are. Being a little devious, India is able to convince the girl to come work for her, hoping the girl will be able to provide information needed to infiltrate the Dark Legion. India get a foothold in the legion and it helping plan further subversive events. Just when India is due to meet some the higher people in the Legion, French appears and with his help, India and French are able to break the Legion.
I am very happy to see that India was able to take the lead in this book. Hopefully in future books, she will also be able to take the lead, just to keep in the back of French's mind that she is capable of taking the lead.
I'm looking forward to the next book in this series and to see if there is a chance of India and French teaming up in more than their spying.
Revolt has spread across Europe and has now reached England. Anarchists have begun assassinating lords and earls. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (Dizzy) has sent for India Black. He believes she is ready to handle an assignment on her own. He wants her to infiltrate the underground group he believes is responsible for the attacks. To stop their deadly plot she will travel from the poorest regions of London to the highest levels of society. All in attempt to uncover the secrets that threaten her very existence.
Carol K. Carr is an amazing storyteller, just Amazing! She takes us back to the Victorian Era and immerses us in the political and social cultures and wraps it with mystery, intrigue, and humor in her own unique writing style.
India Black is a strong, savvy, cheeky protagonist. French appears later in this story and some of the secrets of his life are starting to be revealed as are the secrets to India’s past. Their romantic tension is slowly building with hopes of a real romance. Vincent is a very colorful character. The anarchists are quite an unconventional group. One is just downright strange.
The main mystery is carefully plotted and full of surprises. India places herself in some very dangerous situations and more than once I thought she might be meeting her maker.
Carr keeps us on the edge of seats one minute to laughing out loud the next. I feel like I am watching a movie rather than reading a book. In my review of India Black and the Widow of Windsor I said ”her words are like a thousand pictures” and that is even more true with these story. You can hear the door creaks, the rats running through the alleys, the thump as India hits the ground and the splash of the water. Pictures are painted in your mind vividly. You see the squalor of Seven Dials, the bints favorite yellow dress and all of India’s finery. You can smell the stench being emitted from Vincent and almost taste what Mrs. Drinkwater tries to pass off as edible food.
The author also leaves us a bit of a cliffhanger to tempt us as we wait for the next India Black adventure. I can’t wait foe the next Madam of Espionage Mystery.
During this period all over Europe the Industrial Revolution's impact was being felt. People were coming off the farm into the cities to find work. They found work, and also crowded, filthy living conditions, unsafe working environments, back breaking work for little pay. People felt oppressed and within this the seeds of works rights were sown, and with this discontent a more violent radical element was emerging. London was the capital of the Empire and the anarchists were converging there from all over Europe. India's mission is to infiltrate a cell that called themselves the Dark Legion...
Okay here is what you get, India at her snarky best. Vincent the street urchin eager and hungry to be back in service to the crown. I love Vincent and India's interaction, it is pure magic. And then there is French, I wondered if he would be in this story but he comes in just in time to deliciously aggravate India. There are so many threads in this episode, (for this is how I see it) the mystery of India's mother and the old trout the Marchioness. French's domestic arrangements, and the growing yet denied attraction they feel for one another. There is the procuress from Seven Dials, and we can't forget the anarchists. You get great dialogue, sexual tension, a subtle view into a dynamic historical period. A ripping good yarn, that is well crafted, Carol K Carr is a real gem of a story teller.
Her best offering yet, 5 STARS
I would like to thank the folks at Net Galley for my review copy.