Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And thank you (again), Library Journal!

A new mystery columnist takes over – but she relates to Dulcie and Grey Zone!

Simon, Clea. Grey Zone: A Dulcie Schwartz Mystery. Severn House. May 2011. c.216p. ISBN 9780727869920. $28.95. M
Dulcinea Schwartz’s life as a Harvard grad student is more complicated than most. She’s a bit psychic; has a ghost cat, Mr. Grey, for a muse; and is already known to the local police for earlier cases (Grey Matters). And then she just happens to be on the scene when a professor falls to his death from his department’s building. At the same time, her research into a 1794 feminist author’s writings has stalled, and this gives Dulcie horrible nightmares that further complicate her thinking. VERDICT For those seeking mysteries with a gothic twist, Simon offers a supernatural cozy that also weaves in real-life issues (e.g., sexual harassment of students). Readers will relate to the academic politics and might also like Emily Arsenault’s The Broken Teaglass as a similar suspense puzzle. Or for the paranormal element, consider Sue Ann Jaffarian’s “Ghost of Granny Apples” series.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Today, as I re-read two new lovely reviews of Grey Zone, I have a confession: I did not think I'd made this book, the third Dulcie Schwartz, a very good mystery. My reasons were good: Last spring, my mother was declining through a series of illnesses and health crises that were rapidly building on each other. By the middle of March last year, it was pretty clear she was dying, and she passed away before Grey Zone was finished. Those last days – and for the weeks after – the last thing I wanted to write about was more death. I loved spending time with Dulcie and her friends (and her cats). But murder? I had lost my taste for it. This made finishing this book difficult, and before I did, I went back and forth several times – changing the murder to something else, and back again. When I turned it in, I thought, "well, it's a decent book about Dulcie. I'll do better on the murder mystery aspect next time.

And today I get these two lovely reviews. PW calls Grey Zone, "the best in the series so far." I'm overwhelmed. It is the first anniversary of my mother's death. There's a candle burning on our mantelpiece to recall her. I've been feeling her loss freshly for a while now – that St. Patrick's day trip to the ER. The calls from the doctors. The rushed trips over... the decisions. And yet... good reviews. I guess the book came out better than I had thought. My mom would have been proud, I know that. Bittersweet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Setting up book-launch events

so far... Monday, April 11, 7 p.m.
Partners and Crime, 44 Greenwich Ave., New York. 212-243-0440.
Tues., April 12, 7 p.m.
Reading/signing with Rosemary Herbert, Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 617-566-6660
Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m.
Book launch reading/party, Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 617-542-READ

and remember, if you can't make an event you can always call the bookstore and order a signed/personalized book!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

High-quality cozy?

"Simon writes a high-quality cozy mystery, well paced and plotted, with plenty of twists." - Booklist (starred review).

Oh my! How did I miss that first time through?

Wow - thank you, Booklist!

A starred review for Dogs Don't Lie!

Pru Marlowe has recently returned to her hometown in the Berkshires, ostensibly to care for her dying mother. In reality, she fled New York when she was weeks away from completing her degree as an animal behaviorist, having endured a nervous breakdown caused by her sudden ability to hear animals. Only a few months later, after setting up shop as an animal trainer, Pru finds her best client dead, his throat ripped out, and his newly adopted pit bull, Lily, standing next to him, covered in blood. Spurred on by the desperate cries only she can hear, Pru commits herself to saving Lily and solving the murder. Simon writes a high-quality cozy mystery, well paced and plotted, with plenty of twists, and set in a New England small town full of intriguing characters. Pru’s struggles to deal with her abilities make this stand out among other animal mysteries, and the sad story of Floyd, the heart-broken Persian, will touch the heart of cat lovers everywhere. Recommend this series to fans of Blaize Clement and Rita May Brown (especially those who have grown weary of the Mrs. Murphy novels). Watch this series closely. It could well sprint to the top of the animal-cozy genre.

— Jessica Moyer

Pru gets a star from Booklist!

"Watch this series closely. It could well spring to the top of the animal-cozy genre." – Booklist (starred review)