"The Study of Secrets" By Cynthia Kuhn: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

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

Lila Maclean knew that she was risking her shot at tenure by focusing on an unknown mystery author. Lila never dreamed that she would ever get a chance to meet her idol Isabella Dare, nor that Lila would be invited to stay at the novelist’s guest cottage. Bibi Callahan had used a pseudonym while writing the books that not even her friends new existed, and she has offered Lila the opportunity to spend her sabbatical in Larkston, Colorado, while also helping Bibi organize her papers. It is only after Lila discovers a manuscript hidden in one of Bibi’s drawers that her closest friends learn that she is an author, but it is the title of the unpublished novel that truly shocks them.

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Image Source Henery Press
The Secrets of Everwell harkens to the place where the “Larks” partied before leaving for college, the last time being when Bibi’s sister Ilse went missing. Bibi worries that her friends’ reputations could be ruined by her fictional recollection of the time, and it seems that she was right to have been alarmed. Just after learning of the book’s existence literary agent Gillian Shane is strangled to death in Callahan House, making all of the women – and a few husbands – likely suspects in the murder.

Lila describes the novels of Isabella Dare as being a cross between Shirley Jackson and Agatha Christie with a twist, and here the twist could be Lila and Bibi finding themselves in a real-life manor mystery. Silently hostile life-long house servants, a missing manuscript, and past-and-present murders all become dangerous entanglements for their investigations. Detective Lex Archer recently moved to Seattle with his estranged wife, and while her broken heart wouldn’t expect him back at least he would keep her informed about the investigation and listen to her discoveries. Detective Ortiz isn’t so amenable, although the local gossip news blog Larkston Live is more than willing to cast aspirations upon the Larks and the wealthy Callahan widow. Also circling Bibi Callahan is the Stonedale University chancellor, who has an invested interest in her estate becoming a part of the University property. With both her tenure and Bibi’s reputation on the line, Lila is more than happy to have her fellow professors, Calista James and Nate Clayton, supporting her as she attempts to balance on the academic highwire. Cousin Calista will also be a welcome presence when Lila’s celebrity artist mother, Violet O, arrives in town with her exuberant and outrageous personality.

This series continues to be an absolute delight for academic mystery fans as the viperous politics of universities make them an entertaining setting full of desperate, arrogant, and greedy professors all competing for the best reputations and entitled positions. Lila and her friends remain true to their professional callings, devoted to their studies while also knowing how their futures depend on the whims of their department heads. Lila’s team bring a level-headedness and sense of practicality to the lofty academic realm, which this series perfectly and knowledgably satirizes. Lila’s rocky romantic problems are resolved quickly and satisfyingly, in a manner true to her character and the woman she has become. Sharp humor, plot twists galore, and genuinely likable characters establish this as one of best academic mystery series being written today.

Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.

To enter to win a copy of The Study of Secrets, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "study,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 20, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be at least 18 to enter. If entering via comment please include your email address. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, we will not use your address for any other reason. 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 featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors. A new episode went up this week featuring the first chapter of a Maddie Day book!

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. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. What an exciting mystery!

  3. I’d love to read this! Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  4. Wow. I have gotten behind in this series. It seems I should begin to catch up. I love that Cynthia writes in an academic environment (my background, too) and so accurately depicts some of the tensions and idiosyncracies of academics.

  5. A new mystery by a new author, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Thanks for the chance.

  7. This sounds like a really good story. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com


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