Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Vital Principle (Second Sons, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Vital Principle (Second Sons, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Vital Principle (Second Sons #1)

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  81 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Without family to support her, Prudence Barnard struggles to maintain her social position on a tiny income by acting as a professional guest and entertaining her hostesses by holding spirit sessions. Unfortunately, during a house party at Rosecrest, her host, Lord Crowley, accuses her of taking advantage of his elderly mother and hires a famous inquiry agent, Knighton Gaun ...more
Kindle Edition, 351 pages
Published (first published February 8th 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Vital Principle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Vital Principle

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 151)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Books Mom
Originally posted at

This whodunit, the first in the Second Sons Inquiry Agency Series, claimed it would keep you guessing until the end. I was not convinced, and believed I could figure it out if I really concentrated -- after all, I love a good mystery. I put all my skills to the test and began reading.

As I read, I'd be sure I had figured out who had done it, but then everything changed, and I was proven wrong. By this time, I was utterly intriged and ke
Verity Brown

This book isn't QUITE a four--more of a 3.5--but I did enjoy reading it very much. The two main characters have a nice chemistry, and I confess I was disappointed by the idea that future books in this series might not feature them.

Our heroine: a spinster who formerly helped her father debunk ghost stories. His death has left her in poverty, and she survives by being a professional houseguest, performing seances for her wealthy patrons. (Problem: this is set in the Regency Era, while this type of
The Vital Principle by Amy Corwin
A Second Sons Inquiry Agency Series Book 1
Prudence Barnard has nowhere to call home. When her father was alive they were invited to homes so he could investigate hauntings. Now that he's gone, she gets invited to try and speak to the dead. Instead of her scientific studies, she is considered entertainment for the bon ton. As a guest at Rosecrest, her entertainment suddenly puts her in the position of a prime suspect for murder.

Knighton Gaunt is a second son who d
Mayara Arend
The Vital Principle is a lovely mistery romance by Amy Corwin, featuring Knight Gaunt and Pru Barnard.
Amy has a wonderful narrative, that kept me guessing until nearly the end. When the last major event on the book happened, I was already sure of who was the killer, but that was pretty much when it was revealed, merely pages before, so kudos to Amy, it's not that easy to fool me ;)

Pru Barnard is a lovely fraud, she pretends to be able to communicate with the death and she was invited by Lady Cro
Mar 23, 2011 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ages 13+
Recommended to Susan by: Amy Corwin, author
My Review:

Pru Bransford is suspected of murder by the inquiry agent hired to reveal her as a fraud. Even when falsely accussed of murder; Pru Bransford keeps her head, remains calm, and eventually her innocence is proven. An interesting mystery from beginning to end.

Amy Corwin’s writing style flows easily and keeps the reader interested, and continually guessing “what comes next.” In each chapter, the tension mounts between the different characters involved, and continues throughout the book. T
Lilly Gayle
Everyone has Secrets and Pru Barnard is no exception. But is she a charlaton? Or worse? A muderer?

With no family and no inheritance, Pru Barnard must find a way to support herself and her maid without working or she will be unable to maintain the lifestyle to which she is accustomed. So, she becomes a professional guest, entertaining her hosts/hostesses by contacting the spirit world.

Knighton Gaunt was once a member of the ton, but as a second son, he's no lord and he chooses not to live off t
To be honest, I found this a bit disappointing. The two main characters just didn't seem consistent, and there were some jarring Americanisms which are out of place in a novel set in Regency England. I probably won't bother reading any more in this series, when there are others that I've enjoyed a lot more.
Bill Bradford
This mystery is set in England in roughly 1800. The format alternates between the two principal characters -Knighton Gaunt (the second son of the subtitle on the cover) and Prudence Barnard - narrating the story. The potential romance between the two is the major sub-plot of the book. Ms. Corwin does a good job making this format work and the story flow seamlessly forward through the two points of view.

The two principal characters are very well drawn, and hopefully there will be more stories wi
Matt Kelland
It was okay as aristocratic mansion house murder mysteries go, but I kept getting the characters mixed up. Lord this, Lady that, Miss someone... they didn't feel distinctive enough. A lot of the story felt redundant, just retreading the same ground for no reason: some tighter editing would have been valuable. And the solution was slightly disappointing - I was expecting something ingenious. But the two lead characters are wonderful, and this has the potential to be the start of a good series.
Laura-nassidesa Eschbaugh
A so swo mystery with a barely interesting herion/ love story.
Mary Lauer
Not bad but not as good as the Captain Lacey books.
A fun who done it?

Mary marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
Laurel marked it as to-read
Jan 22, 2015
Vickie Bross
Vickie Bross marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2015
Ann marked it as to-read
Jan 07, 2015
Sonya L Moore
Sonya L Moore marked it as to-read
Nov 24, 2014
Laurie marked it as to-read
Oct 25, 2014
Oongawa marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2014
Patricia Peto
Patricia Peto marked it as to-read
Sep 10, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and recently joined Mystery Writers of America. She has been writing for the last ten years and managing a career as an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies/historicals, mysteries, and contemporary paranormals. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she di ...more
More about Amy Corwin...

Other Books in the Series

Second Sons (3 books)
  • A Rose Before Dying (Second Sons, #2)
  • The Dead Man's View (Second Sons, #3)
The Unwanted Heiress (Archer Family #2) Smuggled Rose The Bricklayer's Helper (Archer Family #3) The Dead Man's View (Second Sons, #3) A Rose Before Dying (Second Sons, #2)

Share This Book

“She certainly had a talent for sweetly stated sarcasm.” 0 likes
More quotes…