India Black has a fabulous cover, a woman in a red Victorian dress holds her fan seductively. The author's last name starts with a 'c' which means that when I walk by the mystery section on my way to the information desk that I can't help but see it. (Just a reminder, I work in a doomed bookstore) Luckily said bookstore lets me check out books. India Black is the title character she is a Madam in Victorian England. She runs a brothel call “Lotus House.” One of her clients dies while being entertained. He even dies in quite a compromising position, dressed up as Queen Victoria and chastising a wayward Prince Albert. Either way she is trying to dispose of the body when the mysterious agent known as French appears and helps her cover up the death. Apparently the Client was a member of the War Office and has important documents that the Prime Minister (PM) can't have leaked. The rest of the book follows the twists and turns as India and French try to get the documents back.
It's quite entertaining. Its not a mystery in the strictest sense, more like 007 in Victorian England. It's also really wacky and funny. India is super badass, terribly clever and very funny. She is a take no nonsense woman who is also a whore. At one point she tries to distract the Russian ambassador with a hot lesbian tryst with a Jamaican hooker.
This book reads like a first book. It's a bit spotty in places and I think the concept of the book outpaces the writing. It's the execution that falls flat. For instance, India uses a lot of Victorian slang, which is cool. Except in practice, because I don't know what the slang means, and it's kinda weird. On the whole it was a fun romp, even though it didn't end like I wanted it to. However, I'm very happy that I didn't have to pay for it.