cover image India Black and the Widow of Windsor

India Black and the Widow of Windsor

Carol K. Carr. Berkley Prime Crime, $14 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-24319-0

When Queen Victoria hears via a medium that her late husband, Prince Albert, wants her to travel to Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the monarch decides to accede to his wish in Carr’s engaging follow-up to 2011’s India Black. Since the prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, has learned that Scottish nationalists are plotting against the queen’s life, Disraeli recruits India Black, a feisty brothel owner with spy experience, to go undercover as a maid in the royal party, assigned to a cranky and quirky marchioness with a penchant for inhaling any powder within reach that’s not actually snuff. The irreverent Black, who refers to her sovereign as “a podgy neurotic,” has her hands full with her ostensible employer as well as fending off the lecherous prince of Wales while trying to identify the main conspirator. Fans of Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series will be pleased. (Oct.)