Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys


I’m a huge fan of Clea Simon, and was eagerly awaiting this fifth book in the Dulcie Schwartz mystery series, featuring the Harvard graduate student, along with her kitten Esme and the spirit of her departed cat, Mr. Grey. I knew enough from reading the previous four books to set some nice chunks of reading time aside when I received my review copy of True Grey, because once you pick up one of Simon’s mysteries, you’re not going to want to put it down.

In this book, we find Dulcie finally making some real progress on her thesis about an incomplete gothic novel written by an unknown author in the 18th century. But just when things are going so well, Melanie Sloan Harquist, a visiting scholar, shows up and claims that not only has she found the incomplete novel, she is preparing to publish a biography of Dulcie’s author! Dulcie is devastated, because this would mean that years of research were wasted. Dulcie makes several thwarted attempts to contact Harquist. When she finally plans to pay a friendly visit, it’s too late: she finds the woman murdered, and ends up – literally – with blood on her hands. To make matters worse, Dulcie had threatened to kill Harquist just days before the murder when she was venting her frustration about the situation to friends.

Dulcie looks like the prime murder suspect, and does everything she can think of to clear her name. When she finds out that the dean of students had a strong connection to the murder victim, the plot thickens. When the dean accuses Dulcie of plagiarism, she is beside herself. Dulcie’s anxiety level rises constantly throughout this book, and she doesn’t get much help from her distant and preoccupied boyfriend. Colleagues who appeared to be friends start to look suspicious. And even her ghost cat, Mr. Grey, and her adorable kitten Esme, are more cryptic than helpful with their advice.

In addition to Dulcie’s race to clear her name and find the murder victim, Simon masterfully weaves in a subplot about the anonymous author of the gothic novel. The juxtaposition of the two story lines will keep you guessing all the way to the end.

Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the passages with the two cats, and they’re plentiful throughout the book, but this entire book is an edge-of-your-seat, suspense filled read. Add in Simon’s beautiful, highly descriptive, well-nuanced and sometimes lyrical prose, and you’re in for a multi-layered treat of a book. The book can be read as a standalone, but I’d encourage you to read the entire series – it’s just too good to miss.

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.

Clea Simon has generously offered one autographed copy of this book to go to one lucky winner. To enter the giveaway, tell me in a comment why you’d like to win this book. For an additional chance to win, tweet about this giveaway or share on Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest, and leave a separate comment letting me know that you shared. This giveaway ends Friday, December 7, and is limited to readers in the United States only .

This book was sent to me by the author. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Coming Wednesday: a guest post by Clea Simon about her writing process…which is ruled by her cat Musetta. 

About the author

30 Comments on Review and giveaway: True Grey by Clea Simon

  1. It’s been a long time since I tried a new author and for me a new genre. I’d welcome the opportunity!

  2. Love cat stories of all kinds – this one sounds great. Will go to the library to see what is on the shelf by this author and hopefully get one. I’ll read it aloud to my two foster boyz – Monk and Marley, who will be going to their fur-ever home on Saturday after spending 6 weeks with us via Siamese Cat Rescue of Virginia. Monk is a handsome blue point snowshoe and Marley is a class sealpoint. See more Siamese who are seeking new homes at

    Trish in Connecticut

  3. I love reading mystery books especially ones involving cats… the cats make the book so easy to understand … I would love to win a copy… I have been faithfully reading all of Clea Simon’s books..they are awesome!!

  4. I love mysteries and I love cats! This sounds like the perfect book for me. I would love to win it! Thank you for the giveaway!

  5. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to get the link to my FB share.

  6. I love Clea Simon’s books. I was introduced to them through another of your reviews and I have read nine of them in the past several months. 🙂

    I am currently reading my last one, Cats Can’t Shoot, and I was a little sad because I thought that it was the last one. I would love to have an autographed copy of the book.

    • Hi Ann,
      Thank you so much for reading, but do not fear! The next Pru Marlowe is already in the works – it will be “Parrots Prove Deadly” and will come out in April. But, yes, in the meantime, there is the new “True Grey” (and I should finish up reading through the copy edits of the next one – Grey Dawn – sometime this week). I’lll keep writing if you keep reading!

  7. I enjoy cat mysteries but have not yet read any of this series.

    Yesterday I learned our dear cat Martha has hyperthyroidism, so kitties are on my mind!

  8. I love mystery books and I love cats and I am interested in psychic phenomena so it seems like this would be a triple winner for me.

  9. I would LOVE to win an autographed copy of the newest Dulcie adventure. I have read all of her other mysteries and loved every one, but I think the Dulcie Schartz series is my favorite!

  10. I love to read and a murder mystery involving cats? Bliss. I think it may be time to begin reading the Dulcie Schwartz series. Thank you for bringing these novels to my attention and thank you for the giveaway.

  11. I would love to win this book! My best friend, Laura, is a lover of felines (owning 4 of them), as well as a fan of ghost lore. Therefore, this would be the perfect Christmas present for her. She lives way up in Detroit, and I live down here in St. Louis, so I would love to send this to her!

  12. I love reading, cats and murder mysteries. I had not heard of these books but now have them on my reading list. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *