The Vital Principles (Second Sons #1)
by Amy Corwin
Edition: ebook, 2011
Synopsis: When Lord Crowley sends for him, cynical inquiry agent Knighton Gaunt is more than happy to accept the simple assignment. All he must do is attend a séance and expose the spiritualist, Prudence Barnard, as a charlatan taking advantage of Crowley’s mother.
Unfortunately, instead of proving Miss Barnard is a fraud, Gaunt is made to look like a fool when Crowley is murdered after the séance. Apparently, the attractive spiritualist is not the only guest who has mastered the art of sleight-of-hand. Whoever killed Crowley managed to poison his brandy without anyone noticing and to act with appropriate concern afterwards.
The terrified guests immediately close ranks against Miss Barnard and accuse her of the murder. She is the only stranger in the house, except for Gaunt, and she’d argued with Crowley the previous day. It sounds reasonable to everyone except Miss Barnard. And Gaunt.
Then the murderer strikes again, and Gaunt must use all of his skill to expose the truth before another member of their house party dies.
Hired to prove Miss Barnard as a fraud, Knighton Gaunt instead finds himself investigating the murder of the man who had hired him. Prudence fights to prove her innocence as tension grows in the house.
I’ve read several books by Amy Corwin before this one, and I am never disappointed. Her writing style is highly enjoyable, and her characters always jump out of the page. Knighton and Pru were no exception to this. I didn’t want to put the book down until I knew how their story would unfold. I especially like that their relationship is given time to develop, and though I was a little disappointed by the ending, it made sense.
This is a must read for any fans of the Regency period and mystery.