Into the Grey (Dulcie Schwartz)
by Clea Simon
Review by Gayle Surrette
Severn House Publishers Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780727886279
Date: 01 September 2016 List Price $28.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Things are about to change for Dulcie Schwartz. For one thing, she's in the home stretch on her dissertation. Then there are the upcoming decisions on what to do after she gains her degree. Where will she apply for work? How will she manage her relationship with her boyfriend, Chris, if they end up working in two different cities or states?
Those issues all become moot when Professor Fenderby is added to her committee and insults her scholarship and her handling of her material. He even locks her out of access to her research material. As if things aren't bad enough, when she goes to confront him in his office, she finds his body.
Once again, Dulcie has stumbled into the middle of a crime scene. This time people are aware that she was angry and upset and had made statements that could be considered threatening. This time, she's nearly at the top of the suspect list -- well maybe at the actual top of the list.
Dulcie is determined to clear her name and get back to her research as soon as possible. However, as usual, she operates on emotion more than reason and that tends to get her in situations where she doesn't know who to trust or what to do next. Mr. Grey, her dearly loved but now deceased cat, gives her council, but Dulcie, as usual, misinterprets the advice -- well it is rather cryptic.
I think one of the reasons I enjoy this series is that Dulcie seems so real. While it is unusual for anyone to so often be in the midst of mayhem and murder, it does fit with her interest in Gothic literature, active imagination, and tendency to rely heavily on emotions over logic when outside of class. She reacts as most of us would expect we would under the circumstances she finds herself in.
The crime has many possible motives and suspects. There's plenty of red herrings as well as a good measure of academic politics and procedures that tie into the crime and keep the pages turning.