Dulcie Schwartz' name is right out of one of the Gothic stories she's studied and loved. Now, in Clea Simon's Grey Matters, Dulcie is caught up in her own Gothic story. And, she's aware the story sounds funny to others, so she protests, "But this isn't something I made up. It's not from a ghost story. It's my life!"
But, it's so easy for Dulcie's roommate, Suze, and her boyfriend, Chris, to doubt her. Dulcie's a third year grad student, working on her doctorate at Harvard, studying obscure Gothic manuscripts from the 18th century. But, she had an odd childhood, raised in a commune in Oregon by a mother who claims to have premonitions. And, Dulcie herself claims to see the ghost of her cat, Mr Grey, and he communicates with her. So, when she stumbles over the body of Cameron Dessay, another grad student, while leaving her adviser's house, and then believes there's something odd going on at the house, people are a little doubtful. With Suze busy with a new boyfriend, and Chris unusually quiet and absent, Dulcie's left on her own. She's lonely, misses Mr Grey, and her new kitten doesn't communicate with her. Her own thesis, and her future, seem in jeopardy as her adviser seems surrounded by secrets. What's a student of Gothic literature to do but interrogate suspects, and stumble toward a solution on her own? As Dulcie realizes, "When one spent so many waking hours among the ghosts and haunted castles, why wouldn't ordinary life start to show signs of the paranormal?"
Ghosts, premonitions, mysterious phone calls, and odd suspects. Throw in a couple unusual cats, including the ghost of Mr Grey. Add an innocent heroine, and the political world of academia, and it's a first-rate mystery. It's obvious author Clea Simon enjoys the romance of Gothic literature, and she shares that love with readers in the enjoyable Grey Matters.
Clea Simon's website is www.cleasimon.com
Grey Matters by Clea Simon. Severn House, ©2010. ISBN 9780727868404 (hardcover), 232p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received my copy of the book from the author, in hopes I would review it.