A fascination with gothic novels colors a grad student’s perception of a crime.
Dulcie Schwartz is still working on her Ph.D. at an unnamed but prestigious university in Cambridge, Mass. In the university’s Mildon collection, she’s found passages from a novel she believes were written by the author on whom her dissertation focuses. When coed Mina Love, who looks a lot like Dulcie, is viciously attacked, Dulcie, who’s in the vicinity, hears wolflike howls and sees her faculty advisor, Martin Thorpe, nearby looking very strange. Dulcie’s determination to investigate redoubles once Mina’s roommate, Emily, is also attacked, though she escapes with less serious injuries. Emily is sure the attacker is Mina’s possessive boyfriend. But Dulcie still wonders about professor Thorpe, who’s been acting very odd lately. It’s no wonder that Dulcie’s boyfriend, Chris, who works nights, is worried about Dulcie, since her only protection is the occasional apparition of her deceased cat, Mr. Grey, warning her of approaching trouble. Meanwhile, Dulcie’s dreams are filled with scenes from the novel she is slowly piecing together. A visiting professor may have some papers that will help her if Dulcie can stay alive and continue her research.
Simon’s feline mysteries (True Grey, 2012, etc.), best read in the order in which they were written, show Dulcie’s growing obsession with the fragments of a mysterious novel—a novel that presents a better mystery than her latest case.