Omnimystery News is pleased to welcome Carol K. Carr as our guest today. Carol's debut mystery, also published today, is India Black (Berkley, January 2011 Trade Paperback, 978-0-425-23866-0), introduces "Madam of Espionage" India Black.
We're delighted that Carol sat down with us to answer a few questions about her new book.
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Photo provided courtesy of
Carol K. Carr
What can you tell us about India Black?
India is the young and beautiful madam of a brothel in Victorian London. When a government minister dies in her establishment and the portfolio of War Office documents he was carrying goes missing, India finds herself blackmailed into helping the British government recover the case from the Russian agents who have stolen it. She is joined in the pursuit by a handsome British agent named French, and an odiferous street urchin called Vincent. The chase leads from the Russian embassy to one of London’s grand hotels, and finally across the English Channel to France.
From the synopsis, it seems this book could be classifed under several genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery. How would you describe your book?
It has elements of all those genres. I think of it as an old-fashioned adventure story, with some comic interludes and episodes of derring-do, and a few interesting historical facts tossed in for good measure.
How much of the story is historical fact? Was the plot inspired by actual events?
The historical events described in the book did indeed take place. The Turks did massacre Christian peasants who refused to pay their taxes to the Ottoman Empire, which led to reprisals against Muslim peasants by Christians. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, did engage in a public debate with William Gladstone about the wisdom of invading the Ottoman Empire to prevent the massacres, while the Russians were anxious to invade in order to secure a warm water port on the Black Sea. It’s also true that Disraeli publicly committed the British army to fight the Russians, without realizing that the military was hopelessly undermanned. I don’t believe that information was ever stolen from a dead body in a brothel, but India is convinced it was.
If you had to pick just one sentence from the book as your favorite, which would it be?
My description of William Gladstone: “He was an impressive old bird, with a slab of a face roughly hewn into a hawk-like visage, enormous tufts of white side-whiskers, and a mouth like an Old Testament prophet who’d just gotten wind of the goings-on in Sodom and Gomorrah.” For some reason, it tickles me.
What prompted you to tell this story, to write this book?
India demanded that I tell it. I’m not kidding. She just appeared in my life one day and I knew I had to write her out of my head or she’d never leave me alone.
We're fans of series characters, that we get to know them within the context of more than one adventure. What's next for India Black?
I've signed a two-book contract with Berkley, and I’ve delivered the second in the series to my editor. I don’t have a fixed date for publication yet, but I’d anticipate that it will be sometime in 2012. On her next outing, India must protect the life of a Very Important Person at the castle at Balmoral (subtle hint as to the identity of said VIP), with assistance from Vincent and French.
Now that you've completed your first mystery (two if we count your completed manuscript for the second in the series), if you ventured off into another genre, what would it be?
I’d stick to espionage, but this time I’d set the book in South Africa during World War II. It would be much darker and grittier than the India series. I'm planning to write that novel one of these days, but right now I am concentrating on India.
If you could have written any crime novel already published, what would it be?
There are hundreds of books I wish I’d written. Maybe the Jackson Brodie series by Kate Atkinson, or any of the novels of Sarah Caudwell. Or some genre-changing work like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
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For more information about Carol, visit her website at CarolKCarr.com.
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About India Black: 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-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.
Also available: India Black (Kindle edition).