New academic mystery, #Review, and character interview: The Art of Vanishing

Review

I’m always on the lookout for a good campus mystery, and was delighted to discover Cynthia Kuhn. She obviously knows academia, and writes about it in an entertaining and accessible way. The Art of Vanishing is a light, fun, cozy, but Kuhn has built an impressive and convincing world complete with undiscovered mystery authors and egotistical literary legends. In fact, I spent quite a few minutes searching online for a certain early-20th-century writer, only to discover Kuhn had made her up. Highly recommended!

When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.


The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.


Professor Maclean, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

LM: Hello! I’m Lila Maclean, an English professor at Stonedale University. It’s my first year here, and I’m trying to fit in.  But— just between us—it’s been a challenge.

Being the new kid is hard–do you have any supportive coworkers? 

LM: My cousin Calista—we grew up together. Never imagined back then that we’d be colleagues in the same department! Adore her.

Is there anyone on campus you don’t get along with so well?

LM: The chancellor. Let’s just say that he is very concerned with people doing whatever he wants whenever he wants it, and I’m not quite as committed to that objective.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

LM: She sure does like to type!

What’s next for you?

Make it through the semester. Rumor has it that there are more mysteries to be solved at the university. I’m not surprised—Stonedale seems to be full of secrets!


About The Author  

Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean academic mystery series. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She teaches English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado. Visit her at cynthiakuhn.net or @cynthiakuhn.

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