4/series. Once again our increasingly professional spy India Black, abbess of one of London's up-and-coming brothels (although by the end of the book it isn't clear in which direction the business is actually heading), pulls the empire's chestnuts from the fire. A letter, delivered to India by a sometimes-client, proves to be a bill of lading for tools to India. But India manufactures its own tools, so what's in the boxes. Shortly uncovering the unpalatable truth, India, the dashing, too-proper French, and the never-washed street Arab Vincent are propelled into a hide-and-seek game finish the sentence on the next page...
with murderers and smugglers who stop at nothing. To make matters worse, the aged, snuff-taking Dowager Marchioness of Tullibardine shows up with her about-to-whelp collie and her wall-eyed factotum Fergus. The old girl is set to stay a while, at least until the pups are born. And that isn't all, but you'll have to read this fractious Victorian romp to find the details. Read in order, they're closely linked. A 5.
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