“The Spirit in Question” By Cynthia Kuhn: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review & links to purchase it.

In her seemingly eternal quest to earn tenure, assistant professor Lila Maclean is acting as a “dramatic consultant” for Stonedale University’s original production of Puzzled: The Musical. Since internally renowned director Jean Claude Lestronge is directing the play, most of Lila’s duties entail acting as a university liaison and yes-woman. At least that’s until Jean Claude decides that Lila’s experience at teaching mystery fiction should elevate her to the status as assistant director, which makes it her job to handle the very delicate ego of the play’s writer, fellow professor Tolliver Ingersoll. His mash-up of mystery genres and characters is an incomprehensible mess, one almost as unbelievable as when Jean Claude is shot dead during a rehearsal.

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The show must go on, despite the president of the Stonedale Historical Society loudly protesting the use of 1878 opera house, and Tolliver replacing Jean Claude and re-inserting all of the previous edits. Accompanying Tolliver on his aspirational journey is Zandra Delacroix, a former Stonedale professor herself but now a practicing psychic and medium. Rumors of ghosts from a doomed University theater production from the 90s have Zandra insisting the Opera House is haunted, an assertion that also attracts a television crew of spirit wranglers and a desperate professor for an unestablished parapsychology department. The student actors were already emotionally and hormonally unsteady, and with panic spreading over ghosts and strange noises, it’s the exact wrong time for deadly accidents, wealthy benefactors threatening to pull funding, and university-mandated séances.
mystery book cover
Image Source Henery Press

Lila thought navigating through the fragile and immature egos of university professors was difficult, but that’s nothing when they’re combined with the dramatics of the drama department. The professors’ desperate struggles to publish papers and earn department chairs is equaled by that of actors, writers, and directors to have their art produced, so it shouldn’t be too surprising when it becomes deadly. Lila’s relative stability and sanity in the midst of chaos is always a delight, although her practical attitude becomes somewhat unsettled by the arrival of Detective Lexington Archer. Their attempt at dating had sputtered to a stop due to her overwhelming work as an academic, not to mention her undeniable-but-very-denied connection with fellow professor Nate Clayton. Their friendship, bolstered by the absurdities within the academia, continue to make this a very fun and even smarter mystery series. Watching these intellectuals maneuver through ghost hunters, demanding students, irrational professors, and a poltergeist or two is endlessly entertaining.

Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.

To enter to win a copy of If the The Spirit in Question, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "spirit,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 27, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors! October's episodes are perfect for your Halloween listening!

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This cover is fabulous and the book sounds very entertaining!

  2. Thank you very much for reading and reviewing!
    Happy Halloween, everyone. ��

  3. Thanks for this captivating and intriguing story which interests me greatly. The author is very creative and the mystery is unique and enthralling.

  4. I am sorry as I omitted my e-mail. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. You are the winner. I sent you an email asking for your mailing address.

  5. A haunted opera house sounds like a great setting for a mystery. Looking forward to reading.

  6. This looks really good--I have the first book in the series. legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  7. Sounds like an interesting series. doward1952@yahoo.com


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