Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Vital Principle by Amy Corwin -- Regency Done Right!

I love the Regency era, but rarely read it anymore because it drives me crazy to read so-called regency books filled with modern idiom and behavior that no proper young English woman of that era would allow.  I cringed when I opened this e-book and saw that I was reviewing a Regency mystery.  I waited for the anomalous language or behavior but it never came. Much to my surprise, Ms. Corwin does Regency right!  I wonder whether she created her professional psychic, Prudence Barnard, or channeled her.

Miss Barnard is a genteel spinster whose father left her very little except the ability to become a “professional” houseguest.  She makes the rounds of country houses contacting the spirits of the dearly departed and assuring their loved ones that they are, indeed, happy and comfortable on the other side.

Knighton Gaunt, founder of Second Sons Inquiries, is hired by the very disagreeable Lord Crowley to prove Miss Barnard a charlatan, and finds himself investigating Lord Crowley’s murder, instead.  Did Miss Barnard do it?  Or one of the other houseguests?  There were thirteen people at the table that night.  Oh, and a maid in the corner.  Gaunt is the only one in the room he knows did not put poison in Lord Crowley’s brandy.

That’s the other thing about me.  I usually figure out who did it at least halfway through the book.  Ms. Corwin kept me guessing right up until the very end.  I’m glad this is the first book in a series.  I will be reading more of Ms. Corwin’s books.  I’ve found a new favorite author, and a Regency mystery writer, at that!

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