Grey Zone (Dulcie Schwartz Series #3)

( 4 )

Overview

When a student goes missing and a professor ends up dead, Dulcie Schwartz realizes that midterms are going to be worse than ever. She's hard at work on her thesis, but present day concerns (including the destructive mischief of her growing kitten) keep dragging her back into a tangle of motive, misbehavior, and maybe even murder. If only Mr Grey, her beloved feline ghost, would lend a hand, at least with that rambunctious kitten . . .

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Grey Zone (Dulcie Schwartz Series #3)

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Overview

When a student goes missing and a professor ends up dead, Dulcie Schwartz realizes that midterms are going to be worse than ever. She's hard at work on her thesis, but present day concerns (including the destructive mischief of her growing kitten) keep dragging her back into a tangle of motive, misbehavior, and maybe even murder. If only Mr Grey, her beloved feline ghost, would lend a hand, at least with that rambunctious kitten . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Simon's spirited third Dulcie Schwartz mystery (after 2010's Grey Matters), Harvard grad student Dulcie continues to work on uncovering the identity of the anonymous female author of The Ravages of Umbria, an 18th-century gothic novel. But the death of psychology professor Fritz Herschoft, an apparent suicide, as well as the disappearance of a former student of Dulcie's, sophomore Carrie Mines, distract her from finishing that darn thesis. Dulcie's evolving relationship with fellow grad student Chris Sorenson further complicates her life. The appealingly earnest Dulcie reveals a sweetly eccentric side through her psychic communications with Mr. Grey, her ghost cat sidekick, and her new telepathic kitten, Esmé. Strange dreams and Mr. Grey's sporadic assistance steer Dulcie toward a most elusive killer. Fans of Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Carole Nelson Douglas, and Rita Mae Brown should enjoy this feline whodunit, the best in the series so far. (May)
Booklist
Graduate student Dulcie Schwartz and her ghostly feline, Mr. Grey, return in a third academia-set cozy. Dulcie, stressed with midterms and a new thesis adviser, is also having dreams about the author of Ravages of Umbria (her thesis subject) that have her convinced that the author was in someway silenced in 1794. And then she not only witnesses a suicide but thinks one of her undergraduate students may be involved. The fast-paced story is propelled by Dulcie's frenetic investigations and harried personal life, but unlike in many cozies—in which the mystery plot is lost amid the personal detail—here the many scenes from Dulcie's life actually support the main story, whether they are Dulcie's phone calls with her commune-dwelling mother, Dulcie's kitten troubles, or her worries about long-time boyfriend and fellow grad-student, Chris. A must read for series fans, the novel should also be suggested to Lauren Willig and Jennifer Lee Carrell readers.
Library Journal
Dulcinea Schwartz's life as a Harvard grad student is more complicated than most. She's a bit psychic; has a ghost cat, Mr. Grey, for a muse; and is already known to the local police for earlier cases (Grey Matters). And then she just happens to be on the scene when a professor falls to his death from his department's building. At the same time, her research into a 1794 feminist author's writings has stalled, and this gives Dulcie horrible nightmares that further complicate her thinking. VERDICT For those seeking mysteries with a gothic twist, Simon offers a supernatural cozy that also weaves in real-life issues (e.g., sexual harassment of students). Readers will relate to the academic politics and might also like Emily Arsenault's The Broken Teaglass as a similar suspense puzzle. Or for the paranormal element, consider Sue Ann Jaffarian's "Ghost of Granny Apples" series.
Kirkus Reviews

A sleuthing grad student adjusts to having a new cat companion and sidekick.

Dulcinea "Dulcie" Schwartz is always making things more complicated than they should be. At least, that's what her boyfriend Chris insists. For example, her thesis on The Ravages of Umbria would be so much easier to write if she didn't get hung up on the author and the fact that she never published anything afterward. Dulcie's convinced the reason for her long silence is that she was murdered, but as a Harvard doctorate student of Gothic literature, she can't help thinking that way. Take the case of missing student Carrie Mines. Dulcie's advisee Philomena "Corkie" McCorkle insists that Carrie must be fine. But Dulcie's convinced there's much more to the story, especially now that a professor's suicide is being considered a murder. If only there were someone Dulcie could confide in. The tutoring Chris has taken on to bring in extra cash has taken him from Dulcie's side; her roommate Suze has a serious boyfriend; and her mother Lucy is too wrapped up in her hippie-commune things to be present on this life plane. And though Dulcie's slowly bonding with her new kitten, Esmé doesn't talk to her the way Dulcie's former pet Joel Grey once did. While Joel's ghost makes a few appearances, Dulcie's biggest fear is that trusting those around her may mean losing Mr. Grey forever.

Although her protagonist is mildly less pretentious than she was last time around (Grey Matters, 2010, etc.), Simon's fans shouldn't expect many departures from a formula with which she clearly feels comfortable.

From the Publisher

"A must read for series fans, the novel should also be suggested to Lauren Willig and Jennifer Lee Carrell readers." - Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780727869920
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Series: Dulcie Schwartz Series , #3
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Clea Simon worked as a journalist and non-fiction author before turning to crime (fiction). Best known for her series of cozy mysteries starring cat-lover Theda Krakow, Clea Simon grew up in New York, before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard. She fell in love with the city and lives there still with her husband and their cat, Musetta.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Dulcie Schwartz and Mr. Grey are back in another terrific feline murder mystery!

    Harvard graduate student Dulcie Schwartz is hard at work on her thesis, which focuses on a 200-year-old Gothic mystery. Mr. Grey, the spirit of her beloved feline, who offered wise advice and comfort to Dulcie in the past, has been increasingly silent. Dulcie could really use his help with Esme, her mischievous and sometimes destructive kitten. And on top of everything, her boyfriend is working all the time, and never seems to be available when Dulcie needs him. When a student goes missing and a professor ends up dead, Dulcie finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into an increasingly complicated tangle of possible suspects, motives, and maybe even murder.

    This exceptionally plotted story sweeps the reader along with Dulcie as she tries to unravel the mystery. Will Mr. Grey help her, as he did in the past? What about Esme? Will the kitten play a part in solving they mystery? You'll have to read the book to find out.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book not just for the story, but also for the main characters and the setting. Simon excels in developing her characters, and Dulcie is no exception. Simon's skills in writing appealing characters extend to the cats as well. Even though Mr. Grey is a ghost cat, he feels real, and many readers will be able to relate to the feeling of connection with lost pets that extends beyond the realm of the physical. She perfectly captures the antics of a growing kitten, and the slow process of a new kitten making her way into the heart of someone who's lost a beloved cat. The relationship between Dulcie and her boyfriend keeps changing and growing as well. The story is set in Cambridge in the middle of winter, and Simon sets the scene so well that I found myself shivering at times.

    All of these components make this book a terrific read for cat lovers, mystery lovers, and lovers of a great story. Don't miss this one.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Dulcie Schwartz paranormal amateur sleuth is also a delightful cozy

    Graduate student Dulcie Schwartz has completed all her classes except for her dissertation on the anonymous British author of a two-century old gothic novel. Besides wondering who the author was, Dulcie would like to know why the unknown author stopped writing.

    However, she will soon be engulfed in a real world mystery. Signs seem everywhere asking whether anyone has seen a missing former student Carrie. Dulcie saw Carrie with a man before she knew people were looking for her. After sending an email to Carrie's contact address, the woman seeking Carrie, Corkie asks Dulcie to contact her. Dulcie searches for Corkie, finds her but she runs into a building and to the stairs. Seconds later Dulcie learns Professor Fritz Herscloft just jumped out of a window to his death. Later she finds out he was murdered. Dulcie worries someone she knows might be the killer and that she may be in danger as she has a lot od so-cslled accidents. Making matters more complicated is that her beloved late feline Mr. Grey, whose spirit guided her, is contacting Dulcie less and less; while her impish kitten Esme is not assisting her at all. As she digs deeper, falling concrete injures Dulcie who now knows she is in danger.

    The latest Dulcie Schwartz paranormal amateur sleuth (see Grey Matters and Shades of Grey) is a delightful cozy starring a young female who fears her late significant other Mr. Grey is moving on at a time she needs him though even she knows he is a crutch. Both cats are involved in trying to keep their human pet safe though it is not easy to do as the heroine has a tendency to stick her nose into dire situations. Readers will enjoy wintry Cambridge as Dulcie struggles with closure from the loss of her loved one, her dissertation, and her investigation.

    Harriet Klausner

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    Posted April 20, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

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