Tuesday, December 4, 2012

India Black & the Rajah's Ruby

And now for a short interlude with my favorite Madame of Espionage, India Black. As proof of my great love for India and her creator, Carol K. Carr, I have made an exception to my "absolutely NO e-copy books" rule. It seems that Penguin has decided that they will no longer provide hard copy ARCs of their products. E-copies or nothing. Well, for anybody but Carol and India, it will be nothing here. But--knowing that the only way I was going to get my hands....er, make that eyes on "India Black and the Rajah's Ruby" would be through the electronic medium--here I am providing my first-ever NetGallery review. 

This short novella is a delightful peek at how India came to have the wherewithal to open Lotus House and become a successful madame. At this point in her life, India is young tart in a house run by Mother Moore. The lovely wench is already popular with the gents and she is Mother Moore's prime earner. India is a particular favorite of Philip Barrett, a reckless young man, who claims to be on his way up to a partnership in the shipping business. 

 But he needs India's help. In order to make his way, he must land a deal with a wealthy American and he wants India to use her charms to ease the man into a friendly, deal-making mood. She accompanies him to the country for a week's stay, but before she has a chance to unleash all her womanly wiles, the American's prize possession the fabulous Rajah's Ruby is stolen. How does this intriguing episode lead India to Lotus House? You'll just have to read the story for yourself and find out. [Due to be available in December.] 

As always, India is a marvelous character to read about. Even in this short form, her wit and sharp mind are well-defined and it is great fun to see her in her early years before involvement with French. The story is nicely done and kudos are due to Carr for making a successful leap from the novel length to the shorter story. Not all authors are adept at that and she has done it very well. The mystery surrounding the ruby is interesting....and I must say I was fooled. I missed the vital timing clue that would have told me when the ruby was finally stolen. Another delicious entry in the annals of India Black!  Four stars.

A couple of wise quotes from India: 

One can appreciate beauty without becoming a driveling idiot. (p. 6) 

You'll think me pompous, but I speak the truth. I usually do unless there's a good reason not to. (p. 9) 

[Disclaimer: This book was made available to me as an advanced reader copy. My review policy is posted on my blog, but just to reiterate...This electronic review copy was offered to me for impartial review and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.] 


fredamans said...

I have this one to read on my pc next.

Dee DeTarsio said...

As a huge India (and Carol K. Carr) fan, I just pre-ordered this one on my kindle! Thanks for the review!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I still need to read the second book but I really like India and I'm sure I will enjoy this extra story when I have a chance to pick it up! Thanks for letting me know about it :)