Agatha Award, Best First Novel
William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant
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 found 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.
“The first sentence grabbed me, the ending surprised me and, in between, The Semester of Our Discontent was a box of delights. A pitch-perfect portrayal of academic life with a beguiling cast.” — Catriona McPherson, multi-award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver series and The Child Garden
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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 the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.
“Entertaining, intricate, and oh-so-smart! A terrific plot—with a surprise around every corner.” — Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Say No More
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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?
“Lila Maclean returns with theatrical hilarity and otherworldly suspense. A fabulous backstage whodunit.” – Gretchen Archer, USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-nominated author of the Davis Way Crime Caper Series
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Best Book on Atwood and Her Work — Margaret Atwood Society Award
This study examines the associations between dressing and storytelling in Margaret Atwood’s fiction, focusing particularly on The Robber Bride and Alias Grace.
The essays collected here demonstrate how scholarly attention to literary fashioning can contribute to a deeper understanding of texts, their contexts, and their innovations.
Reading Chuck Palahniuk examines how the author pushes through a variety of boundaries to shape fiction and to question American identity in powerful and important ways.