Into the Grey: A Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery, Clea Simon. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8627-9
Graduate student Dulcie Schwartz is preparing to finish her dissertation when an eccentric professor newly added to her committee cuts off her access to important research. She tries to visit his home and encounters an angry wife. She tries his office and finds him dead from a head wound; naturally, she quickly becomes the main suspect, which gets her suspended from the university, bringing progress on the dissertation to a grinding halt. Professor Fenderby was rumored to have harassed female students, and Dulcie is shocked to find that her cousin, Mina, was bringing a suit against him and that Alyson, Dulcie’s student, was having a long-term relationship with him. As always, Dulcie receives wisps of insight from the cats in her life, though the spirit of the late Mr. Grey, usually her leading consultant, seems peculiarly quiet. Simon again mixes Dulcie’s personal relationships (human and feline, traditional and paranormal) with realistic portrayals of academic life, including such current hot-button campus issues as sexual harassment. An unlikely blend, perhaps, but one that has found a core of satisfied readers.