cover image Grey Matters

Grey Matters

Clea Simon, . . Severn, $28.95 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6840-4

Sluggish pacing mars Simon's second feline mystery starring Harvard doctoral candidate and nosy parker Dulcie Schwartz (after 2009's Shades of Grey ). Outside the Cambridge home of her adviser, Professor William Bullock, with whom she just had an uneasy talk about her unfinished thesis on an obscure Gothic novel fragment called The Ravages of Umbria , Dulcie happens on the bloody corpse of handsome Cameron Dessay, a comp lit whiz who recently switched to English. Dulcie is understandably horrified, as is Professor Bullock's assistant, one of Cameron's many female admirers. Sussing out whodunit leads Dulcie and Mr. Grey, her ghost cat, into dangerous territory, while her romance with fellow grad student Chris Sorenson suffers. Though Simon scores with the spectral Mr. Grey and the likable Dulcie, some cozy fans will find Dulcie's constant fretting over her thesis distracting and wish for fewer details about the world of academia. (May)