Book Title: The Art of Vanishing
Book Genre: academic mystery, campus cozy, amateur sleuth
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Synopsis: 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.
Excerpt: Francisco looked thoughtful. “Would you ask your mother to speak to him on our behalf? Make our case?”
“Wouldn’t it be better coming from the chancellor?” I ventured hopefully, not daring to look at the chancellor when I said it.
“Look,” Francisco said, not giving him an opportunity to respond. “Damon is extremely difficult to track down in the best of circumstances. If your mother knows how to contact him directly, we should go that route.”
I became aware of a strange energy in the room, like people were holding their breaths waiting for a response. Their heads swiveled between Francisco and me as if they were watching a fast-paced tennis match. Although he was an assistant professor, on the lowest rung of the hierarchy like I was, he already exuded an unmistakable aura of power. I wasn’t sure where it came from. Perhaps he was naturally confident. Or just plain arrogant. In any case, I wasn’t about to let him boss me around.
As I was deciding how to respond, the chancellor spoke. “The university would be most grateful, Dr. Maclean.”
Well, that clinched it.
“I would be happy to ask her,” I lied, the very picture of the cooperative tenure-track candidate.
Across the table, Simone smirked, clearly pleased I’d been obligated to do something I didn’t want to do, while Francisco glared, apparently annoyed that I was a few degrees of separation closer to “his” author than he was.
About the author: Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series, which includes The Semester of Our Discontent and The Art of Vanishing. 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. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.