In Tenure Denied: A Past Life Mystery, by Dr. Ellenmorris Tiegerman, professor Caitlyn Morrys finds herself caught up in a murder mystery on campus that also involves her past lives and relationships from past lives. You probably already know I love reading college murder mysteries, and I was intrigued by the supernatural aspects in this story.
Tenure Denied blends committee meetings and daily life in higher ed with a shocking murder on campus. Caitlyn Morrys is a trained psychologist, and she puts some of her skills to work solving the mystery. I've enjoyed stories of an academic trying to solve a crime in wildly different books like Mariana Andros in The Maidens and Phillip Taiwo in Lightseekers.
In uncovering the mystery, Caitlyn Morrys also uncovers more about her past lives and her connections in those past lives. Caitlyn already had dreams, almost visions, about key scenes in her past lives. A lot of Caitlyn's experiences and her discussion of past lives talks about healing the wounds and fixing the mistakes of past lives. This is a mystery novel, not a textbook or a guide, but the fictional characters and relationships are meant to raise larger questions and ideas about human life. This book suggests that many aspects of modern-day suffering come from unresolved experiences in past lives. For Caitlyn, she remembers dramatic scenes of death and loss in her previous lives, and tries to connect who she once was with who she is now. Her friend and lover, Ashford Connor, dismisses these dreams and her special headaches, though.
Readers should come in with an open mind and curiosity about the unexplained. Many of us have had an odd moment when we thought we recognized a stranger or a new place, even though we couldn't possibly have. Instead of shrugging it off, Tenure Denied leans into what those feelings could mean. Could it be a fading memory from an experience in a previous lifetime? Research has shown that a past generation's trauma can influence the next generation, and the idea of past lives in this novel takes it a step further. Caitlyn can not only still remember traumatic and dramatic moments from her previous lives, she's able to use that information in this life.
Tenure Denied invites readers to look at our world in a different way, and to question if there could be more that what meets the eye. Readers should have an interest in the supernatural and unexplained, but it's also a readable mystery about all the dark secrets on this lovely college campus.