LUCY BURDETTE: Who doesn't love a brainy heroine who solves a mystery using her smarts rather than with weapons and body blows? Me too, that's why we thought you'd love meeting Cynthia Kuhn, and hearing about her debut academic mystery. Congratulations and welcome Cynthia!
CYNTHIA KUHN: Thank you, Jungle Reds, for letting me visit today! A new academic mystery, The Semester of Our Discontent, is out this month: after working in academia for two decades, I was compelled to create a fictional university where amateur sleuth Lila Maclean, a new literature professor, encounters a variety of challenges and mysteries. The following list is a tiny homage to those who persevere in the profession…
1. You love when people quote literature, in any situation.
2. You have skipped a social function or stayed up all night to finish commenting on student essays.
3. Your writing hand is often in one of three positions: cramped, clawed, or gnarled.
4. You have burst out laughing when someone claimed that college teaching is “where the money is.”
5. You have been involved in passionate conversations about grading rubrics.
7. Your wardrobe contains more than the usual amount of tweed, features an astonishingly heavy bookbag, and/or is embellished with chalk dust.
8. You can rarely get through an essay paragraph without using “i.e.,” “e.g.,” “therefore,” “furthermore,” or “moreover.”
9. You are so overwhelmed by the brilliance of a given text that you find yourself with a lump in your throat during class discussion.
10. You read for work, you read for pleasure, and if you ever have free time, you read some more.
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, serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado, and blogs with Mysteristas. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
About the book: English professor Lila Maclean is thrilled about her new job at prestigious Stonedale University until she finds one of her colleagues dead. She soon learns that everyone, from the chancellor to the detective working the case, believes Lila—or someone she is protecting—may be responsible for the horrific event, so she assigns herself the task of identifying the killer.
More attacks on professors follow, the only connection a curious symbol found at each of the crime scenes. Putting her scholarly skills to the test, Lila gathers evidence, but her search is complicated by an unexpected nemesis, a suspicious investigator, and an ominous secret society. Rather than earning an “A” for effort, she receives a threat featuring the mysterious emblem and must act quickly to avoid failing her assignment…and becoming the next victim.