Monday, December 6, 2010

Countering Yesterday's Entry - Slutty Spies

I spy on my neighbors.

Not always.

I do like to be aware, though.

In a times of great fear people grow anxious and suspicious - often distrustful of neighbors and strangers, family and friends. Our guards go up, our sense heighten (sometimes by far too much), and we start watching for clues and hints of what is to come. Propaganda posters fueled it during the war. America experienced it during the Red Scare. Countless gossips and high school girls leap to wild conclusions (or lies) at the drop of a hat.

Err... I'm rambling, and poorly.

I mean for this to be an expansion on yesterday's post, but for some reason my writing is all twisted.

I've acquired a review copy of Carol K. Carr's India Black: A Madam of Espionage Mystery, which comes out in January. The cover design speaks volumes. A sepia background shows a generic cobblestone street in Victorian London. The cover's lone figure, a woman in scarlet and black lace, holds a fan. Her head is cropped above the nose, but her bosom is on full display.* After a brief inspection of the blurbs (Vicki Lane calls it a "cheeky romp") I've surmised that what I hold in my hands is, in fact, a...


I'd be rather pleased if Prostitute-Spies grew in popularity. Truly, I would. These small-business owner/operators (heh heh.) were the working women of Victorian London. Sure, it may not be the healthiest and most agreeable line of work, but these women are smart, savvy, and sneaky! Plus, they are secret-keepers for some of society's seediest: politicians. Add secret espionage, and you've got a mastermind problem-solver who isn't afraid of using her feminine wiles in order to win.

Perhaps these women of vice will triumph with their own version of what constitutes right and wrong in this world. Or maybe they'll further ruin the hope and change that so many real-life feminists of the 20th century fought so valiantly for.

I haven't begun to read India Black yet, but I think it'll help fill the void left by Lauren Willig's astonishing Pink Carnation series.

Fun Facts:
Release Date: January 4, 2011. ($14.00)
India Black is Carol K. Carr's debut novel.
Tag line: "India Black answers to no man, no matter how attractive he might be..."
Summary from Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin:
Set in 1876, the beautiful young madam India Black is occupied with her usual tasks: keeping the tarts in line, avoiding the police, and tolerating clergymen determined to convert the girls she's in charge of. But when Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies suddenly of a heart attack while visiting her London brothel, India is unexpectedly trust into a deadly dispute between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham had carried.

The summary goes on to suggest a romantic entanglement with a handsome French/British spy and some angry Russians. It is unclear if the Russians are also romantic. Fingers crossed.

To strengthen my Hooker-Spies theory, here is a Google-like spewing of spy-related things in my head: the Russian spy ring that made headlines last month, James Bond, the many detective mystery novels I priced at work this morning, Spy vs. Spy, Sherlock Holmes, the spy/hooker who shagged Eliot Spitzer out of office...

... does Monica Lewinski count even though she didn't effectively use her information-gathering opportunities?

*The cover shown above is not quite the same as the final product. I don't know why, but somewhere between cover design and printing, the upper half of the model's face was cropped and discarded. I like it more without the eyes (although she is undeniably lovely).

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