I've been waiting for this book pretty much from the minute I finished the first one, and I'm thrilled to say it's a happy reunion. Everything I loved from the first book -- the humor, the banter, the historical detail, the action scenes, India -- was in this book and I gobbled it up. Again reprising her role as a Victorian Bond Girl, India is enlisted to go undercover to Balmoral, where Queen Victoria is spending Christmas (rather unusually). Prime Minister Disraeli (another returning character I was amused to see again) thinks Scottish nationalists will try to assassinate the Queen, so India and dreamy-but-cool government agent French go undercover to protect Victoria and figure out who's trying to do her in. Still, despite the adventurous romp and snarky commentary, it wasn't exactly like the first book. The vibe of the story was far tamer than the first one and India, for a madam, was downright respectable even while scurrying around undercover as a maid. The feel of the narrative changed a bit, too: I found myself describing this series to a friend as a slightly risque take on the 'cozy mystery'. Instead of a yarn shop or small-town bakery, you've got a brothel; rather than a pet groomer or retired grandmother, you've got a madam. But the elements one enjoys in a cozy mystery are found in this one: reassuringly familiar characters, slightly ludicrous plots that are enjoyable nonetheless, a vague romantic entanglement, and a satisfying conclusion. If the rest of the series keeps this up, I'll be a very happy girl. The will-they-won't-they thing going on with India and French is amped up a bit in this book which made me pretty gleeful, and Carr drops some exciting hints about French's and India's backgrounds that have me salivating for the next book. I am hoping it'll feature India the madam a little more as I love the unapologetic (but tasteful) way Carr presents her work, but honestly, India can stand in a shop and sell tomatoes and I would read on with joy. Don't start with this one if you're new to the series: even though there's some very quick recapping of the first book, I still think those unfamiliar with the series won't have as much fun than those who've read India Black and enjoyed it. Pick up both this fall and thank me later!