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Grey Zone (A Dulcie Schwartz Cat Mystery) Hardcover – April 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


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. --Booklist, May 1, 2011

About the Author

Before turning to a life of crime (fiction), Clea Simon was a journalist. Starting as a rock critic, she ended up writing about books and other arts. A native of New York, she came to Massachusetts to attend Harvard University, from which she graduated with high honors, and never left. The author of three nonfiction books and seven mysteries, she lives with her husband, the writer Jon S. Garelick, and their cat, Musetta.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Dulcie Schwartz Cat Mystery (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers; First Edition edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727869922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727869920
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,894,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi! Welcome to my Amazon Connect page. I don't know if you found me because you like fun feline mysteries (my Theda Krakow and Pru Marlowe pet noir series) or savor an academic setting (my Dulcie Schwartz series). You'll find animals in all of them - and in my upcoming (2016) mystery, "The Ninth Life," which takes a darker turn than any of my previous books, too (with a black cat, naturally).
You might be wondering about my "Dogs Don't Lie." Yup, it's got a dog in it, and many of the Pru Marlowe books feature other animals. But Pru, an animal psychic, couldn't function without her sidekick, an irascible tabby named Wallis. They both appear in "Cats Can't Shoot," "Parrots Prove Deadly," and the latest Pru "Panthers Play for Keeps," and "Kittens Can Kill." (Look for "When Bunnies Go Bad" in March 2016! All from Poisoned Pen Press) Meanwhile, I hope you are enjoying my Theda Krakow series - "Mew is for Murder," "Cattery Row," "Cries and Whiskers," or "Probable Claws" - and my Dulcie Schwartz series (think cats AND ghosts!) with "Shades of Grey," "Grey Matters," "Grey Zone," "Grey Expectations," "True Grey," "Grey Howl," "Stages of Grey," and "Code Grey" (all from Severn House). Or perhaps we share some family issues, and you're looking at "Mad House" or "Fatherless Women." Or maybe you just love cats and are interested in my "The Feline Mystique." At any rate, good to meet you! I'm a writer and journalist, an avid reader, and am looking forward to making this page lively and fun.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ingrid King on February 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
At Harvard, 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Pizzo on February 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Dulcie has a new thesis adviser. Will she finally make progress? Life seems to have other ideas. Dulcie keeps catching glimpses of a former student who is supposed to be missing, according to a flyer posted on campus. Dulcie is also trying to catch up with a student who is falling behind in her studies. Then SPLAT! A Psych professor comes out a seventh floor window. Was it suicide or did he have help? Meanwhile, the kitten is getting more destructive, Chris works too much, Suze is hardly ever around, and her friends Trista and Jerry aren't getting along like they did. Lucy's advice doesn't make sense. Throw in Dulcie getting hit on the head with a brick and then her student receives the same treatment and you have an action packed, can't put it down book. In the end all the pieces fall into place but not before Dulcie breaks into her burning apartment to rescue her kitten. "Grey Zone" is a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I loved the smart and sympathetic portrait of Dulcie and the mystery kept me gripped. I've loved all of Ms. Simon's books--all of them are superbly written and full of characters so rich and alive you expect to run into them in Cambridge (don't I wish). I can't wait for her next book.
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Format: Paperback
While I quite liked the previous 2 books in this series, this one did not live up to them.

Dulcie's new faculty adviser does not think she's on the right track for her dissertation... and I must say, I rather agree with him. This is at least the third time in a few months in which she has largely changed direction in what she plans to demonstrate and why... with each new change sounding less and less plausible. I also tend to agree with her adviser that she is overly focused on other aspects of her life as a way to avoid settling down and working on her thesis!

Including, of course, meddling in other people's dramas, in which she is of little help because she is so peripherally involved, and none of the principals actually want her to meddle. A student dropped out of one of her class sections over a year ago- and NOW, all of a sudden, she is wracked with guilt about having not been supportive enough? when the young woman even switched majors??? Dulcie's commitment to one of her current tutoring students is more appropriate, but still overly involved, especially when the student wants her to back off (and Dulcie won't), and given that Dulcie really has to stop avoiding and start writing her dissertation!

This would have been more interesting if it were discussed more directly, rather than implied. Sure, most of us procrastinate and avoid things that are tricky and hard by getting overly involved with other stuff. Dulcie shows no insight into this, though, and her friends mostly do not call her on it.

The plot was complicated, so much so that I am not at all sure it made sense. Loose ends galore, and the final resolution seemed more appropriate to one of Dulcie's beloved Gothic novels than a modern mystery.
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