I had eagerly anticipated the release of Grey Zone, the third in Clea Simon’s Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery series. The book’s official release date is April 1, and even though I have a pile of unread books a mile high, I just couldn’t wait that long, and ordered it on Amazon as soon as it became available.
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 wonderful read for cat lovers, mystery lovers, and lovers of a great story. Don’t miss this one.
Clea Simon is the author of the Dulcie Schwartz and Theda Krakow mysteries and the nonfiction The Feline Mystique – On the Mysterious Connection Between Cats and Their Women as well as several other nonfiction books. For more information about Clea, please visit her website or her blog.
Coming next week on The Conscious Cat: a review of Dogs Don’t Lie, the first in Clea Simon’s new Pet Noir series. And coming in two weeks: Clea Simon talks to The Conscious Cat about writing murder mysteries featuring cats.
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