The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn
Series: Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #3
Published by Henery Press on October 2, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 214
Format: eBook
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four-stars

English professor Lila Maclean knew drama would be involved when she agreed to consult on Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical. But she didn’t expect to find herself cast into such chaos: the incomprehensible play is a disaster, the crumbling theater appears to be haunted, and, before long, murder takes center stage.

The show must go on—yet as they speed toward opening night, it becomes clear that other members of the company may be targeted as well. Lila searches for answers while contending with a tenacious historical society, an eccentric playwright, an unsettling psychic, an enigmatic apparition, and a paranormal search squad. With all of this in play, will she be able to identify who killed her colleague...or will it soon be curtains for Lila too?

I’ve been reading the Lila Maclean mysteries this month. Each can work as a stand-alone, but like most series, reading them in order will give you a better feel for the characters, especially the ones in supporting roles.

In The Spirit in Question, Lila has taken on (or perhaps been dragged into) helping with the production of another professor’s play, Puzzled: The Musical, a barely comprehensible mixture of detectives and dancers. The student actors and crew are having a ball – until the director is murdered during a rehearsal.

At the request of Detective Lex Archer (the love interest), Lila (mostly) stays out of the hunt for the murderer, but plenty of other problems keep her busy. The play is being staged in the Stonedale Opera House, which the university owns but doesn’t seem to maintain. The Historical Society is protesting the use of the building, multiple accidents happen during practices, and, to top it all off, the building might be haunted.

This is a light-hearted mystery. The plot moves along pretty quickly, with the accidents, a seance, a decades-old journal. There were enough clues, red herrings, and motives to keep me guessing. The characters are a fun bunch, some likable, some not so much.

On to the next.

About Cynthia Kuhn

Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries and the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries.

Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications.

Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family. She is professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she teaches literature, writing, and film.

In addition, she is past president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado and a current national board member. Other memberships include Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors League, and the multi-author blog Chicks on the Case.

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