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The Art of Vanishing

(Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #2)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Lefty Award Nominee, Best Humorous Mystery

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 t
Paperback, 228 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Henery Press
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, netgalley, school
I'm a little surprised I requested this book from Netgalley. That cover looks an awful lot like the style used on so many not-to-my-taste cozy mysteries – I really don't like that style. It might have been the "Academic Mystery" that got me – and I'm glad it did, because I really enjoyed this. The main character, Professor Lila Maclean shares several of the characteristics cozy mystery authors often give to their characters – she's klutzy, smart, and beleaguered by her boss for no reason that is ...more
Mark Baker
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2018
Every spring semester, Stonedale University puts on an arts festival, and Lila has been roped into serving on the committee. The big name for the week is author Damon Von Tussel, who has just released his second book decades after his critically acclaimed debut. Lila is sent to interview him before the big event to gain some publicity, but before she can talk to him, he disappears. Then everyone on the committee starts to get threatening e-mails. What is going on?

I don’t read too many mysteries
Libby Klein
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the Art of Vanishing. so well-written so clever. if you like your cozies with a little more intelligence, and a higher level of intellectual difficulty you will love this. My favorite parts, as always, revolve around the wit and romance.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a way to kick of the new year with the second installment in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series! Lila finds herself at the center of another mysterious situation, this time concerning world-famous author Damon Von Tussel whose scandalous lifestyle makes every day an adventure at prestigious Stonedale University in the foothills of Colorado. Fascinating characters keep the story going and keeps the reader engaged and always wondering, "Who did it?!" More Lila Maclean! ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, cozy-mystery
The Art of Vanishing by Cynthia Kuhn is the second book in her Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series. I was excited when this book came out and I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed. It was an enjoyable read that I could not put down.

I like Lila and her independent nature but she seems to be a little too naive considering her worldly upbringing with her mother, Violet O. She should have been more aware of Simone and her wily ways. Lila is also kind and supportive of her friends and her
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cynthia Kuhn has done it again! The second book in the Lila McClean Academic Mystery Series is as good as the first. This cozy mystery emphasizes the pressure placed on assistant professors to publish, receive high administrative approval, and achieve tenure. The main focus of The Art of Vanishing, however, is the mystery itself which evolves into multiple mysteries. Thematic elements are great. Characters in a cozy should be interesting and developed. An appealing setting is always a plus. A li ...more
DelAnne Frazee
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Title: The Art of Vanishing - A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery Book 2
Author: Cynthia Kuhn
Publisher: Henery Press
Published: 2-28-2017
Pages: 262
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Sub-Genre: Suspense, Amateur Sleuths. Women's Fiction, Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 978163511699
Reviewed For NetGalley and Henery Press
Reviewer: DelAnne
Rating: 4.5 Stars

When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English departme
Mary Angela
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cynthia Kuhn expertly portrays academic life, and I loved snooping around the Stonedale campus with her protagonist, Professor Lila Maclean, in this second book of the series. So many lines made me smile—and laugh out loud—at the familiar campus politics (muckety mucks, ha!). Maclean’s quirky mother was also a fun addition to this neat cast of characters. I can’t wait to see what Kuhn has in store for book three!
Wow! The Art of Vanishing was an intellectual feast! It was a startling and complex whodunit layered with cultural history, family betrayal, secrets, and - most importantly - plenty of dark academia. Surprisingly, not a single murder took place in this story, but that novelty turned out to be fitting for this truly heartbreaking tale of multigenerational curse (greed) and its consequences in a famous and talented family. I enjoyed the literary theory bits, too, and I nodded my head and smiled at ...more
Kat Pegfred
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adore Cynthia Kuhn's stories!
A second delightful mystery from the Lila Maclean series - the plot of this one kept you guessing "whodunit??" and the reveal was both believable and satisfying!
As an aspiring academic, I also utilize these as "manuals" for how to negotiate office politics in a university department.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next mystery!
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chicklit-mystery
After reading the first book in this series, with the wonderful title The Semester of our Discontent, I have been looking forward to the second book in this series.
I was not disappointed! The Art of Vanishing is as funny and easily readable as the first title, and yet under the ‘fun’ lies a serious story. This time we meet with Lila’s mother and o dear, who wouldn’t want to have such a mother? For a few years anyway… not when you’re still little, I think. As a grownup, Lila has to deal with her
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I love being transported to Stonedale for a Lila Maclean mystery! As always, Lila is in the thick of things during the university's Art Week and when their featured speaker disappears Lila is forced to track him down. Unfortunately, the famous speaker is an ex-boyfriend of Lila's mother and somehow Lila's quest for tenure seems to be linked in everyone's minds with her being able to produce the illusive author.

The Art of Vanishing quickly immersed me in lovely Stonedale and all of the ch
Maureen Timerman
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Strange things begin to happen when Lila Maclean’s Mom old boyfriend is invited to discuss his famous book and best seller, but people start to get injured and you have to wonder what is going on. It becomes very personal to Lila when the Chancellor makes it a requirement that she get Damon Von Tussel to appear at the program or else. She even enlists her mother’s help, but will he even listen to her, or even care?
People seem to go to strange extremes to stop this program from going on but why,
Keenan Powell
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, chic-lit
The Art of Vanishing is a delightful escape to Stonedale University and the joys, plights and perplexities in the life of Professor Lila Maclean, a lovely person who you'd want for your best friend. No spoilers here! Suffice it to say, I'd be happy to leave this world behind and visit Stonedale and hang out with Prof. Maclean again. ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Great addition to a fun, well-written cozy series. A fast, easy read
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
In a parallel universe, I would have been an English professor. The treacherous culture of academe certainly lends itself to means, opportunity and motive. Lila is likeable and believable, surrounded by a interesting circle of friends, family and colleagues. I intend to follow the series however long it lasts - and I, for one, am glad there's a hint of romance in the arc. I was the one who suggested my public library purchase the series and will continue to do so. ...more
Leslie Karst
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE ART OF VANISHING IS another terrific read in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery Series. Anyone who’s ever set foot on a college campus will recognize and relish the colorful cast of characters Kuhn brings to life in this fast-paced and witty sequel to The Semester of Our Discontent. Can’t wait for number three!
Hanan Buhadana
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed compared to the first one, but I liked it.
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
I think this is the first time in a long time that I have ready a mystery and no one has died! There is still a mystery to solve, but not why someone was killed. This time they are trying to figure out what the scoop is behind celebrated author Damon Von Tussel. Is he really just a recluse or is there more to his story?

Lila puts up with a lot where she works, mostly from the Chancellor, but also from a fellow professor, Simone, who has it out for her. I never knew the world of academia could be
Received this arc from Netgalley. Thank you!

I really like Lila, I do, but I was disappointed in this mystery because (view spoiler). I feel a little cheated!!
Hestia Athena
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Art of Vanishing by Cynthia Kuhn was twisted as f*$k, but in a good way.

Lila is at it again with another mystery falling in her lap.
The settings were short and sweet, but there was enough detail in the 2-3 sentences that you got the idea of where they were. Even descriptions like the windy mountain roads in dialogue. Now that’s something you don’t see too often, description in dialogue. Quite refreshing.
The characters are continuing to grow on me. I like how you can tell the difference betwe
Kristi | Hidden Staircase |
The Art of Vanishing has a great setting and characters. It’s set at a fictional University in Colorado, which is where I live – so that is really fun for me to read about. Most books I pick up that are set in the United States seem to be in New York or California. The University provides a nice backdrop for standard characters – professors, friends, even family – while setting the stage for other unknown characters to fit in as well.

I really liked the characters and their relationships. Lila is
Brian Greiner
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is lovely cozy mystery where nobody dies. Instead, there are shenanigans taking place in the cut-throat world of academia. The stakes are raised when the ivory tower intersects with personalities from the literary world. The book’s plucky hero is required to navigate the mine-field of campus politics and save the day—not to mention her career.
This is an easy book to get absorbed into. The writing style is crisp, the story engaging, and the characterizations are nicely done. There’s a lot go
Tara (Spinatale Reviews)
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review was originally published on Spinatale Reviews.

Rating: 3.5 stars

*Although this is the second book the series, it can be read as a standalone.

When I first heard of this book, I absolutely loved the concept. An academic solving crimes in a small college town sounded great. And, except for one flaw (which honestly has more to do with my expectations), it was.

Lila is a very relatable protagonist. I was able to connect with her from the very beginning. The secondary characters are all well
Vinnie Hansen
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read a lot of cozies because my friends write them, but it takes a little something extra for me to enjoy them. In The Art of Vanishing, the little extra is the academic world. As a retired English teacher, I could instantly relate to the just-starting-out Professor Lila Maclean. She's a literature professor, so literary allusions and authorial struggles form the weave and weft of the story. But don't leave this review thinking Lila is an aloof egghead; she's very down-to-earth and likable.

Ken Finlay
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first book in the series "The Summer of Our Discontent" was a great read and "The Art of Vanishing" does not disappoint. Again there is a almost a sense of claustrophobia as the cast is assembled within the closed world of the college. Lila, busy as ever with advancing her career, teaching, marking her students, finds herself embroiled in an escalating mystery involving a famous author, who by the by, was once her mother's boyfriend.
Cynthia Kuhn writes with clarity and has a good ear for con
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This, the second in the series, was (I think) even better than the first--which I liked too. The mystery was interesting and, after multiple deaths in the first novel, refreshingly did not formulaically re-hash more murders here; instead we have a mystery with no (completed!) murders. The end bad-guy motivations could have been a bit crisper, which I also felt in the first novel of the series, but I enjoyed this a lot regardless of that small critique. These are short, fast reads. I would actual ...more
Susan Van Kirk
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When author and serious womanizer, Damon Von Tussel, is selected to head Arts Week at Stonedale University, Lila is asked to interview him. Strangely, he vanishes right before her eyes. That’s when the sinister events begin. Where did he go? What will the English Department do since Von Tussel is their headliner? Strange messages, thefts, and unexpected events draw Lila into the middle of it all. Then, her mother, Violet, who is Von Tussel’s ex-, shows up to create even more chaos. Can Lila keep ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Art of Vanishing is another engaging mystery story in the Lila Maclean series. I continued to enjoy reading about Lila's life as a professor with an interesting and varied set of colleagues in a charming university setting. This story does not begin with a murder investigation, but rather a series of mysterious events. As the story unfolds, the mysteries continue until pieces are brought together at the end. I look forward to reading any additional books the author may write in this series. ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This was a very enjoyable second installment in the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries. The Art of Vanishing has a strong mystery, twists I didn't see coming, and characters that jump off the page. I particularly loved getting to meet Lila's mother (she’s a hoot!). There's also a wonderful balance between Lila’s academic life and focus on the mystery. I'm looking forward to book three! (Here’s hoping there’s more of Detective Archer. #TeamLex) ...more
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Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. She is past president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado and a current national board member. For more information, please visit

Other books in the series

Lila Maclean Academic Mystery (5 books)
  • The Semester of Our Discontent (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #1)
  • The Spirit in Question (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #3)
  • The Subject of Malice (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #4)
  • The Study of Secrets (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #5)

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