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 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.
Related subjects include: women sleuths, cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth books, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), academic mysteries, book club recommendations.
Books in the Lila Maclean Mystery Series:
• THE SEMESTER OF OUR DISCONTENT (#1)
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all…
Cynthia Kuhn is professor of English at MSU Denver, where she teaches literature and writing. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama, PhD and other publications; she also blogs with Mysteristas. The first book in the Lila Maclean series received a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Well-written, witty, and an utterly delightful read, THE SEMESTER OF OUR DISCONTENT is a wonderful debut novel. Kuhn's characters come to life with her hilarious descriptions, the mystery element is captivating, and the story provides a fascinating look into the world of academia. I did have some issues with character motivations, but overall I found this to be a truly enjoyable cozy mystery. Lila Maclean is a winning heroine, and I'm looking forward to her future adventures.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.
A new cozy mystery!
The Semester of our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn is the first book in the new Lila Maclean Mystery series. Lila Maclean is a new assistant professor at Stonedale University in Stonedale, Colorado. Lila just graduated from NYU the previous spring. Lila is going to a faculty meeting with her faculty mentor, Judith Westerly. They enter the conference room to find Roland Higgins dead on the table! He was stabbed with a knife with a pattern on it. Roland Higgins was not well liked (he was pompous, egotistical, rude, and down on women) so the suspect list is long. However, Detective Lexington Archer (Stonedale Police Department) seems to have narrowed it down to Calista James, Lila’s cousin (Lila’s mom raised both girls). The knife (decorative) belonged to Calista. Then Judith Westerly, English professor and Lila’s faculty mentor, is attacked with a book (a very big and heavy book). The book has the same decorative pattern as the knife. The police find the pattern on Calista’s computer and she is arrested. Lila knows Calista did not commit the murder (or attack Judith) and sets out to prove her innocence. Someone, though, does not like her poking around. Lila’s office is trashed and then bookshelves are sent tumbling down upon her in the library. The killer means business. Then Eldon Higgins (Roland’s brother and has the same attitude problems) is murdered (and Calista has a great alibi). Can the killer be apprehended before more people are murdered?
The Semester of our Discontent was not as good as I was hoping it would be. The book contained too much about academic life. Professors have to publish or perish which was repeated a few times in the novel. It also discusses the politics of academia which dominated the book. The murder occurred in the first chapter (within the first few pages) of the book which was too early. There was really no lead in to it and then we have the whole novel to get through as the main character tries to find the killer. I thought the killer was extremely obvious. I knew the identity of the killer when the body was discovered. The writer did try to distract the reader and lead them down the wrong path with different theories. The Semester of our Discontent contains many literary references and quotes (from classic literature). I think the book was a little overdone (with the academic life and literary references). The average reader might not enjoy all the references to classic books. I give The Semester of our Discontent 3 out of 5 stars. I think the series has potential. I will be interested to read the next book in the Lila Maclean Mystery series to see if there is improvement.
I received a complimentary copy of The Semester of our Discontent from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the novel.