India Black (Madam of Espionage, #1)
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India Black (Madam of Espionage Mysteries #1)

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,322 ratings  ·  263 reviews
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-an...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Berkley Trade (first published November 23rd 2010)
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Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

Excuse me if I am extremely a little fangirly right now. I just finished this whirlwind novel of adventure, humor and mystery just minutes ago, and friends, I am impressed. And in dire need of a reread, just for fun. And, now, I am a stalwart fan of both India Black and the author behind this highly creative and immensely fun novel, Carol K. Carr. Reading this was easy, entertaining, and so very fun; this is one of those novels that grabs you from t...more
Tara Chevrestt
First of all, I LOVED the heroine, India. What a woman! I could spend hours typing quotes of all the witty, sarcastic, funny, and wise things she says or thinks throughout the book.. "Every word in this volume is the gospel truth. You can put your money on the counter and buy the book, or you can go to the devil. It's all the same to me."

"There's a natural affinity between politicans and whores, having, as they do, certain similarities, that breed a type of professional courtesy, if you will. Fo...more
Misfit
"My name is India Black. I am a whore."
India Black is the proprietor of Lotus House, a house of ill-repute that caters to the gentlemen trade. As the story opens, one of her regular customers drops dead during his latest visit. India begins making arrangements for Bowser's body to be discovered somewhere else, but things get a bit sticky when it's revealed that the briefcase he was carrying contained some super-secret, highly damaging government memos that the Russian government would very much...more
Erin
Find my favorite quotes and follow all my reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I have a hard time with novels written in the first person. Properly executed, a narrative in this format can be powerfully compelling. The dilemma I face is more often than not, the author can’t pull it off. Too much introspection can drag down the pacing. Coupled with a boring character, an author is committing literary suicide. Carr does not have this problem. India’s clever banter and internal dialo...more
Barbara
Oh me oh my--I sooo wanted to like this book. It sounded just my thing. Alas, it did not work for me. Maybe I had on my grouchy pants when I was reading it, I don't know....
My biggest complaint was that the author was trying too hard.
The idea was really clever, if not too original. The story is told in the first person by our main character, the madam of a Victorian era London brothel that caters to a 'good' segment of society (minor nobility, government officials, military officers, etc).
Alas,...more
drey
India Black is a madam, and she makes absolutely no excuses for it. Multiple times, in fact... And there's no escaping it, either--she is the title character after all. In this Carol K. Carr offering, the madam becomes embroiled in espionage when an unfortunate patron departs this life while in the clutches of one of India's "ladies"...

I'm not sure why she decides to dump the body, but she's discovered by a British agent while doing so, and finds out that the poor departed had something very imp...more
Kristy
Jan 29, 2011 Kristy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Well I liked the book, sort of, but it wasn't what I expected. India was funny. She was very outspoken and definitely had a different sort of outlook on life. But a major part of the story was missing! Part of the description on the back of the book was this.

"But it is their own tempestuous relationship they will have to weather as India and French attempt to reset the mutual attraction between them-an attraction that can prove as deadly as the conspiracy entangling them..."

This is talking abou...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Did... I fall in love with India Black after the first page?: YES. The first ten sentences had me hooked.

Did... I develop a bit of a crush on the heroine and the hero?: YES. This isn't a romance in the slightest but both leads killed me with their hot.

Am... I going to die waiting for the second book?: YES. This one is coming out Jan 4th, FYI.

Review: There's nothing like being hooked by a book on the first page. It's kind of exhilarating, really. All you need do is settle back and greedily read o...more
Fluffychick
A 4.5 star really!
When an important figure in the Disraeli government dies in a compromising position at the Lotus House, Victorian Madam, India Black has to act quickly to avoid any disruption to her business and reputation. Calling on the dubious talents of the odoriferous street urchin Vincent, she has a plan to remove the body discreetly, but is interrupted by government spy French. Blackmailed with the threat of losing the Lotus House she is drawn into his world of espionage to serve the Br...more
Bry
This is supposed to be a mystery but I don't think so. The whole point of the book is to retrieve a briefcase full of state secrets, yet we know WHO took it, WHERE they are stashing it, WHY they took it, and WHEN then took it. The only part is HOW a madam (i.e. retired Hooker) and a government agent are going to be able to get it back.

The answer - SHEER LUCK AND BUMBLING AROUND LIKE IDIOTS.

Thus, no mystery.

What is sad that I totally expected to like this book - to love it even! I love Deanna R...more
Barb
In order for me to enjoy this novel I would have had to have a strong willingness to suspend disbelief and as a rule I don't. I don't enjoy fantasy fiction at all and if what I'm reading defies logic I'm generally less than enamored, as was the case with this book. Humor is also not something I generally read, though I do enjoy a novel that incorporates history and adventure, which this novel seemed to attempt to do.

I thought the story started out interesting enough with a compelling conflict f...more
Jill
4.5 stars

A really fun, entertaining read.
Only one complaint - and not about the actual story. The blurb is misleading. It talks about a "tempestuous relationship" and "mutual attraction" between the protagonists, India and French. Yes, there is a very muted attraction, but their "relationship" barely figures into the plot.
Still, a very good read. And I'm looking forward to the sequel.

4.5 stars
Indiaskye
I really wanted to like this book, but somehow it failed to charm me. I read the first few pages online before ordering the book and I have to say that the beginning immediately drew me in. Unfortunately, once I had the actual book in my hands my enthusiasm waned pretty quickly after the first few chapters.

The main character of the story is the title-giving India Black, a whore with lots of dry humor and a fairly cynical view on life. I didn't dislike her, but I didn't quite like her, either. I...more
Laphalene
India Black is a boss from hell, a shallow, mean spirited creature who thinks little of humanity and the world around her. I think the author was trying for a frank vulgarness to give things a funny, tell it like it is tone, and a lot of other reviewers talk about the narration's wit.

Let my put it this way- within the first chapter we are already well informed that as a madam, India Black thinks everyone in her employ is an addicted moron. For reasons I can't fathom, the authour decided the best...more
faeriemyst
3.5 stars

India Black is a well-written and entertaining read, featuring a no-nonsense, street-wise, and book-smart whore-turned-madam who is the namesake of the book. While I do like India and her voice, there was something about her that felt off, and after thinking about it I've come to realize that I really don't know her that well. I find that odd because the book is told first-person. Even though this is the first in the series and some authors may not want to divulge everything about a cha...more
KarenF
This book totally hinges on whether or not you like India as a narrator. She's an unapologetic madam & whore, cynical about her customers, employees and the politicians she becomes entangled with. She's a hard hearted pragmatist and if you need narrators more sympathetic and nice, then look elsewhere. I liked that she was what a survivor in those circumstances usually is, like it or not the "Disney Whores" (TM someone from Dear Author) that so often populate fiction wouldn't really last long...more
Mark
Great novel with fun characters and a brisk pace. India is no damsel in distress but then again neither is her erstwhile partner-in-espionage Mr. French. I enjoyed it greatly and am looking forward to the next installment.
Angelya (Tea in the Treetops)
This review was originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase on August 25, 2012.

India Black is the first book our shiny new book club decided to read, and wow, what an opener! This review is a little about what I thought of the book, and a little about the group’s opinions from last night.

India Black is the proprietor of Lotus House, an establishment in Victorian London. In other words, she’s a retired bint, now the abbess of an upmarket brothel of which she is immensely proud. When one of the regula...more
Bree T
Don’t be fooled by that well-bred looking woman on the cover there. While she is beautiful and well dressed, India Black is a whore. And she tells you so in the second sentence! Shamelessly upfront and honest about it, she has mostly retired from the profession herself these days and runs a brothel, preferring to sit back and count the cash rather than be flat on her back for it. She keeps an organised house, well appointed with good whiskey and cigars and attractive, clean and well kept girls t...more
Willow Brook
This book started out promisingly with a first person narrator, India, who is a brothel owner in 1870's London. When one of the customers dies while with a prostitute, he turns out to be a government official who carried with him with a briefcase full of vital state secrets. India just wants to get rid of the body before her brothel's reputation suffers or she is accused of wrong doing. However, she is pulled into a scheme to track down and recover the missing case of documents. Among those who...more
Lara
This story of a Victorian madam who becomes involved in espionage and stolen state secrets started out well. The heroine is a rather hard business woman who is proud of her whore house, and does not romanticize her situation. Once she is drawn into responding to the death of a Foreign Office official and the theft of strategic documents, thing start to slide.

(view spoiler)...more
Susan
This book was recommended to me by Amazon, so I picked it up at my local library (I've been burned too many times by new authors!) I would, however, pay for India's next outing (I'm sure India would approve - buyer beware and all that, but a girl's got to make a living. . .) Carol Carr has produced a sharp, funny, wry, self-reliant heroine in India and an intriguing potential hero in French, the secret agent accompanying her in much of her adventures. The plot is summarized above, so I won't reh...more
Anachronist
What I liked:

The main character of the story is Miss India Black, an intelligent whore with lots of dry humor and a fairly cynical view on life. I loved her narrative voice (as the book is told from her perspective) because it was brutally honest, outspoken and wickedly entertaining. However, the fact that India, once a working girl, now the owner of a brothel, is in peace with her inner self, accepting her fate without any remorse or second thoughts, I liked the best. She makes absolutely no ex...more
Gail
India Black is a whore and she will remind you of that fact in articulate and confident ways. She's the madame of a house in 1870s London where she chases and organizes bints--the stupider, the better, and keeping her accounts. She caters to mid-level government officials, military officers and minor nobility.

All is going well until one of her clients dies of natural causes. To protect the reputation of her house, she enlists a small cohort of conspiritors to dispose of the body, only to be caug...more
Kara-karina
Right. This is what my love of spy novels does to me. :)

India Black could have been a fantastic book. I loved the wry humour and typical British arrogance of it, I chuckled at Madam Black's observations and at her amusing associates, the descriptions were so vivid I could easily see what was happening.

However, the plot was silly. After reading Joanna Bourne's spy novels and admiring the brilliant minds of British spymasters, sadly I found French, the actual spy in this book, lacking. He doesn't...more
Carol
India Black, A Madam of Espionage Mystery by Carol K. Carr started off beautifully and strong but fizzled some at the end. The characters are wonderful. India Black is intelligent, witty and has a sense of humor. She is also the Madam of the Lotus House, a brothel in London during Victorian Times.

The first half of the book was a fascinating dip into the forbidden life of brothels, Sir Archibald of Latham, aka Bowser dies of a heart attack in one of the rooms. India has to get rid of the body for...more
BooksnWool
A whirlwind romp through Victorian London and across the Channel, involving a whole swag of famous Victorians, plus sexy gentleman spy French and India Black, a very bad girl who provides a refreshing view of stuffy, hypocritical Vistorian Society. There are ball gowns, brothels, Russians with guns, creaking ships, snow, dead bodies and street Arabs all rolled together into a delicious pudding just right for a cold winter's night.

Best of all, though the main character is the madam of the Lotus h...more
Veronica
What a delightful read this turned out to be. Set in 1876 London this was less of a mystery and more of a series of political capers centering around some highly sensitive government documents. The book caught my attention with the very first two lines of the Preface, and I rarely even notice the Preface in books.

"My name is India Black. I am a whore."

To be fair, India has left "the game" so to speak in favor of running her own bordello, The Lotus House. In a time when most women passed from the...more
Shannon
Reading India's words is like speaking with my aunt. She says whatever pops into her head and puts a sharp edge on it. Unfortunately, I think the sharp edge dulls as the book progresses.

While India had a smart mouth, the person herself didn't seem all that street smart. I'm hoping she will learn as she goes?

I liked the humor and the action, but, for me, I think the explanation of the complicated political situation could have been simplified. There was a point where the book didn't really involv...more
Jerelyn
Just a lot of fun! India Black is the debut novel for Carol K Carr. Set in Victorian England, India the madam of the Lotus House brothel has her quiet Sunday afternoon ruined, when a regular client dies while being entertained by one of India's stable of lovelies. This begins the bawdy romp through the halls of power and the shadow world of politicians, spies and diplomats. Just the thing for pick me up or weekend read. Smart laugh out loud funny. French the English spy is delicious, and Vincent...more
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After a career as a lawyer and corporate executive, Carol K. Carr turned to writing. India Black is her first book. She lives in the Missouri Ozarks with her husband and two German Shepherds.
More about Carol K. Carr...
India Black and the Widow of Windsor (Madam of Espionage, #2) India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (Madam of Espionage Mystery #3) India Black and the Rajah's Ruby India Black and the Gentleman Thief (Madame of Espionage, #4) India Black in the City of Light

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“He may be incensed, said Dizzy. I've never doubted the old parson's faith, but it has no place in politics. Good God, just imagine if each man allowed himself to be swayed by moral compunctions; we'd never get a damned thing accomplished in Parliament.” 5 likes
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