Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thank you, Richmond Times-Dispatch!

"Talent and Passion" Wow, thank you, Jay Strafford of the Richmond Times-Dispatch! This review ran April 29.

Numerous mystery authors write more than one series, but it's a rare occurrence for one writer to publish entries from two of them simultaneously. But that's what the versatile Clea Simon has done for the second year in a row, releasing installments from her Dulcie Schwartz and Pru Marlowe novels this month.

In "Grey Expectations" (215 pages, Severn House, $27.95), Harvard grad student Dulcie is continuing work on her thesis about an obscure, incomplete 17th-century gothic novel when she finds herself embroiled in multifaceted trouble. Two of her colleagues — Roland Galveston and Trista Dunlop — have gone missing, and so has the Dunster Codex, a valuable book dating to 11th-century England and the prize possession of Harvard's special collections. And Dulcie soon realizes that someone is trying to set her up for a big fall.

Meanwhile, she is receiving fewer messages from the ghost of her late cat, Mr. Grey, and not picking up on those from her new kitten, Esmé. But Dulcie's determination — seldom dormant — kicks in to help her unravel the disappearances.

The feline in "Cats Don't Shoot" (276 pages, Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95 hardcover, $14.95 softcover) is alive but endangered, accused of accidentally — and fatally — shooting her owner.

Enter animal behaviorist Pru, whose abilities include that of "hearing" what her charges are saying. When wealthy Donal Franklin is found dead, and his white Persian's fur and paw prints are found on the antique dueling pistol, the authorities rule the case an accident. But Pru, who has fled New York City for her hometown in western Massachusetts, isn't convinced. And her investigation propels her into a case of guns, greed and multiple murders. When the cat, who has refused to communicate with Pru, vanishes from a local animal shelter, Pru must find the real killer in a litter of suspects in this true whodunit.

Simon, a self-described "recovering journalist" who lives in the Boston area, brings talent and passion to her novels. Ailurophiles, naturally, will find them a tasty treat — but so will readers who enjoy the author's creativity and characters who inspire great affection.

To read the full mystery column:

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