Kathy: The third Lila Maclean mystery has Lila involved with Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical. My undergraduate degree is in theatre. Were you involved in college productions?
CK: How wonderful—I hope you’ll tell us about your experiences! I have been in plays but not during college. However, I did work in the Theater Department office for awhile, and they did some terrific productions, so let’s say I was play-adjacent.
Kathy: As any theatre person knows, all theatres are haunted. That's part of the reason for the ghost light. Is the crumbling theatre here based on a real theatre and/or a real haunting?
CK: During the writing process, I remembered a tour I had taken of the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado, which started the wheels turning; then I visited the Central City Opera House, which contributed more atmosphere; then I discovered that a part of the student union on our college campus where we’ve held events—the Tivoli Turnhalle—was originally built as an opera house too! They all have fascinating histories and beautiful architecture. So perhaps I could say that they all had an influence, and they’re all said to be haunted.
Kathy: In The Spirit in Question Lila Maclean faces all manner of paranormal things, including a psychic. Have you ever had a reading from a psychic?
CK: Yes, I’ve had several. They’re so interesting! One told me—long before this even seemed like a possibility—that I’d become a novelist (true) and would have two children (true). Another told me that I had the ability to communicate with aliens (um).
Kathy: Have you ever joined a paranormal investigation?
CK: Only in my house. (Kidding. Mostly. Does it count when you go upstairs to check on sounds for which there are no earthly explanation?)
Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?
CK: There was a character I loved to write who had been cut from the first two books, and I didn’t want him to be cut from this one. He was a playwright, which led to a play, which led to the theater...and it went on from there.
Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Lila?
CK: She will soon be submerged into another mystery!
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
CK: Lila #4 is scheduled to be out next summer. Still hemming and hawing over the title...which can be surprisingly difficult to produce.
The Spirit in Question (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery) by Cynthia Kuhn
About the Book
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Henery Press (October 2, 2018)
Trade Paperback | 252 pages
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?
About the Author
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series: The Semester of Our Discontent, an Agatha Award recipient for Best First Novel; The Art of Vanishing, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery; and The Spirit in Question. She teaches in Denver, serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado, and blogs with Chicks on the Case. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.
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