A sleuthing grad student adjusts to having a new cat companion and sidekick.
Dulcinea “Dulcie” Schwartz is always making things more complicated than they should be. At least, that’s what her boyfriend Chris insists. For example, her thesis on The Ravages of Umbria would be so much easier to write if she didn’t get hung up on the author and the fact that she never published anything afterward. Dulcie’s convinced the reason for her long silence is that she was murdered, but as a Harvard doctorate student of Gothic literature, she can’t help thinking that way. Take the case of missing student Carrie Mines. Dulcie’s advisee Philomena “Corkie” McCorkle insists that Carrie must be fine. But Dulcie’s convinced there’s much more to the story, especially now that a professor’s suicide is being considered a murder. If only there were someone Dulcie could confide in. The tutoring Chris has taken on to bring in extra cash has taken him from Dulcie’s side; her roommate Suze has a serious boyfriend; and her mother Lucy is too wrapped up in her hippie-commune things to be present on this life plane. And though Dulcie’s slowly bonding with her new kitten, Esmé doesn’t talk to her the way Dulcie’s former pet Joel Grey once did. While Joel’s ghost makes a few appearances, Dulcie’s biggest fear is that trusting those around her may mean losing Mr. Grey forever.
Although her protagonist is mildly less pretentious than she was last time around (Grey Matters, 2010, etc.), Simon’s fans shouldn’t expect many departures from a formula with which she clearly feels comfortable.