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India Black

(Madam of Espionage #1)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  2,992 ratings  ·  473 reviews
In the red-light district of London, India Black is in the business of selling passion her clientele will never forget. But when it comes to selling secrets, India's price cannot be paid by any man...

In the winter of 1876, the beautiful, young madam, India Black, is occupied with her usual tasks—keeping her tarts in line, avoiding the police, and tolerating the clergyman b
Paperback, 296 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Berkley Books (first published November 23rd 2010)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  2,992 ratings  ·  473 reviews

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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 the v
Barb in Maryland
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).
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
"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
Historical Fiction
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Find my favorite quotes and follow all my reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I stumbled over India Black by accident. A librarian left it on a cart of returns while attending another patron. I’d heard good things about the title so I helped myself and hunkered down to read it as soon as I got home. I don’t know what I expected really, but for once I think the accolades deserved. Carr’s is a fabulous debut. A fun and fast-paced fiction beginning to end.

I found India’s clever ban
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a nice surprise! I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. India Black is witty, sarcastic and has a dry sense of humor. The fact that she runs a brothel adds to the humor of the story.

You come to like French and Vincent who are India's partners in crime. I'm sure they will be featured in other stories too.

I did find there was some English slang used that I wasn't familiar with and couldn't define. A glossary or footnote of some of those things would be helpful. But I sorta
Teck Wu
Feb 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I like it! So immersive. Makes me think Im in that era with her. And I really enjoyed that dangerous little adventure. Writing is superb, and masterfully uses elements of that place and time. New fav!
Kristy Mills
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I really liked this much more than I would have thought. Never heard of this series. I was searching through my nook one night and came across this. I downloaded the sample and was hooked by the preface alone. So I bought it and I'm so glad I did. I really liked India. She was sassy, honest, independent, quite funny, and made no excuses for herself. Even though she's a madam, it's not the main story, part of the background I guess I would say. When she gets involved with spies she meets French. ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I think this is another of those "it's not you, it's me" moments. Victorian era historicals and I just don't get along! I can sometimes be persuaded otherwise if, for example, there happens to be a good dose of magic or supernatural happenings that use the foggy streets to their best advantage, which is partly why I thought India and I would get along. The foggy streets, that is, not the magic (hint: there isn't any).

India Black is a fantastic, feisty, not-at-all modest heroine - and luckily one
Picked this one up for a bit of light fun, which it provided. I’m not sure about the comparisons to Gail Carriger’s books — sure, the period is roughly the same and the covers have some commonalities, but Alexia is a lady and India is a mercenary whore (and I mean that literally, not pejoratively). The kind of humour is different — sharper, less light, often relying on India’s bitter attitude toward, well, almost everyone. Carriger does have Alexia being more intelligent than a lot of people, bu ...more
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
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.


Thus, no mystery.

What is sad that I totally expected to like this book - to love it even! I love Deanna R
The Lit Bitch
This book has randomly surfaced on my Goodreads recommendations page and Twitter feed for the last few years now.

I personally love the cover and thought it sounded like an intriguing read. Well recently I saw someone else on Twitter reading it and I suddenly felt like it was time to check it out.

So I guess the whole ‘deadly game’ bit had me thinking this was going to be more of a murder mystery but it wasn’t. This was more of a heist than a murder mystery by far. The whole novel is spent trying
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2011-reads
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
India Black, the clever madam at the heart of this cozy mystery, craves adventure beyond the walls of Lotus House, her "establishment." When one of her clients, a government official, dies unexpectedly and his briefcase subsequently disappears, India earns an audience with the prime minister and his most trusted spy, the stone-faced agent French. Charged with the retrieval of the briefcase, India and French embark on a comic mission filled with harlots, hoodlums, and Russian spies. Saucy, irreve ...more
Roxana Chirilă
*shrug* I mean, I guess...?

India Black is a former prostitute turned madam, running a classy brothel in the year 1876. One day, a government official dies suddenly while being entertained by a woman posing as a Bulgarian aristocrat, and leaves behind a case of important documents that three separate parties desperately want to get their hands on.

This is exciting, until the case starts feeling like a ping-pong ball repeatedly stolen and passed around while a great number of people don't look at
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
Belinda Vlasbaard
4,25 stars- English Ebook

Review follows later.
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
The Stephanie Plum of the 19th century, India Black is headstrong and clever but not always very graceful and it lands her in a number of dangerous yet amusing situations that she handles with dry wit and sarcasm. Hell, she even has her own black sidekick at one point. Then there's the handsome Mr. French, a spy who works for the Prime Minister's office, but he only resembles Ranger with his mysterious background. India has her own secrets though, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series ...more
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
India Black is a whore and she is completely honest about it. But she owns, and runs her own brothel as it is much better sit back and sip her whisky while counting the cash than to earn it flat on her back. Her entry into international espionage begins when one of her regular clients dies ‘on the job’ so to speak. Turns out the little black briefcase he was carrying has secret documents that the British don’t want to fall into the hands of the Russians – and it looks like it is the Russians who ...more
❂ Murder by Death
Excellent first novel. I was amused and enthused from the first chapter. The book is categorised as an "historical mystery" but there really isn't much mystery involved. A lot of the story reads a bit like keystone cops play spy, but truly, I found the book entertaining and the characters interesting enough for me to care what happened to them. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ...more
This was really a fun book! A very unusual character that just makes you laugh out loud.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is more of a caper than a mystery or spy story. But it's fun and I enjoyed it. Told in the first person, the book has as its heroine India Black, former prostitute and now madam of an upscale brothel frequented by men of the upper levels of society. This is the first in what looks to be a series of India Black adventures and in this one it's 1876 and a War Office employee dies of a heart attack in the company of one of India's girls. Unfortunately, his sachel with sensitive information goes ...more
Kathy Martin
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
INDIA BLACK was an entertaining historical mystery/espionage novel. India is the madam of Lotus House. Her problems begins when one of her clients dies in her house. The gentleman is a regular Sunday afternoon client. India's first plan is to move his body so that she and her house don't attract the attention of the law. She enlists a street urchin named Vincent and plans are going well until French interferes.

French is an agent for the Prime Minister and agrees to help move the body and arrange
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
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Play Book Tag: India Black by Carol K. Carr - 3.5 stars 1 5 Nov 26, 2021 09:51PM  
Play Book Tag: India Black by Carol K.Carr - 3 Stars 2 10 May 18, 2016 03:39AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 05, 2015 09:54AM  

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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.

Other books in the series

Madam of Espionage (4 books)
  • 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 Gentleman Thief (Madame of Espionage, #4)

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