Severn House, Apr 1 2012, $27.95
After the traumatic events of last year (see Grey Zone), Harvard graduate student Dulcie Schwartz feels her life has calmed down as she works on her dissertation on the anonymous British author of an unfinished 1790 gothic novel The Ravages of Umbria. Her tranquility is shattered when her friend Trista calls her; crying while saying she is a person of interest in the death of student Roland Galveston.
Soon after Trista’s hysterically call, she vanishes and her boyfriend is frantic. Dulcie goes to Trista’s place in the Cambridge Campus where her friend liked to go when she wanted to be left alone. Trista is not there, but Dulcie notices a ticket admitting her to the Mildon special documents. Stunned as Dulcie knows she never went there on that day; she thinks she is being framed by someone for stealing the medieval manuscript the Dunster Codex. She finds her life in jeopardy from a person masquerading as a cop; however, she has her beloved late Mr. Grey, Esme and Chris watching her back.
Once again, Clea Simon writes a wonderful Dulcie Schwartz cozy in which the heroine is an intellectual star of the Perils of Pauline. Her heroes are Mr. Grey who she still communicates with her, Esme the playful kitten and Chris; though the protagonist wonders how fickle felines alive and dead are though they have her back and keep her spirits up. The mystery is clever with red herrings and unexpected twists and readers will appreciate this engaging amateur sleuth.