India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy (A Madam of Espionage Mystery)
This is the third book in the India Black series, and they only get better. India Black runs an up-and-coming brothel to pay the bills. She also is a budding part-time secret agent in the employ of the British government. When a number of British aristocrats are violently murdered, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli requests her assistance in ferreting out the culprits. Working without her partner/mentor/teacher, Agent French, for the first time, she becomes involved with a group of anarchists determined to overthrow the yoke of the British Empire.
After a séance, Queen Victoria drags her household to Balmoral for Christmas at the supposed behest of her late husband, Prince Albert. Disraeli, alarmed at the change from tradition, asks India to interject herself into the festivities. Acting as a lady’s maid to an elderly Scottish aristocrat who seems to have a connection to India’s deceased mother, India tries to balance the needs of the Crown without getting herself killed. Then Agent French arrives at Balmoral, acting the role of the spoiled aristo to the hilt. Are there conspiracies to be uncovered both upstairs and downstairs? Neither the Queen nor India is amused when the plotting touches dangerously close to the life of the heir to the throne, the ne’er-do-well Prince Bertie.
I thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the India Black stories. A well-researched and complex plot, interesting and personable characters, and a broad hand with humor make me recommend India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy. I can’t wait to read the next book of the series!