by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Code Grey, and info on how to purchase a copy of the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy.
It’s spring break at Harvard University, and ubiquitous graduate student Dulcie Schwartz is feeling abandoned. Her boyfriend Chris is visiting his family, her good friend is off doing post-grad work, and burst pipes in the campus buildings closed most of the offices. A fifth-year graduate student, Dulcie is determined to stay on campus in order to complete her dissertation on a gothic novelist and mysterious manuscript. While campus security and Chris are concerned about the spurt of burglaries plaguing the empty buildings, Dulcie has complete faith in the protective spirit of her beloved Mr. Grey. The ghost of her late cat companion continues to provide Dulcie with advice and warnings, and her living feline roommate Esme is just as opinionated.
Also still on campus is Jeremy “Mumbles” Mumbleigh, a disturbed and shambling former scholar who somehow lost his way and remains broken. After failing to complete his dissertation, Mumbles apparently never left the university city and remains a troubled but harmless presence. Darcie finds that she has too much in common with the man, and she fears that she is one incomplete paper away from following in his footsteps. Perhaps that explains why, after Mumbles is injured and blamed by police for the burglaries, Dulcie becomes completely obsessed with proving his innocence.
The condemning evidence found on Mumbles is a book believed to have been part of a collection stolen from Harvard’s library in 1989. As Dulcie seeks the aid of Thomas Griddlehaus, the librarian and director of the Mildon Rare Book Collection, she tests the patience of Chris and exasperates Detective Rogovoy. The two men, as well as Dulcie’s friends, all believe that Dulcie is engaging on a misguided quest to clear a man who is not her heroic protector of books.
By the ninth installment of this series, Dulcie’s thesis advisor is not the only one who suspects that she may be using her investigations to distract her from completing her dissertation. Once Dulcie finishes her studies, she’ll be forced to defend her dissertation and eventually leave her comfortable academic world. This, combined with the fear that she could easily suffer the same breakdown as Mumbles, has Dulcie irrationally determined to serve as his advocate.
Author Simon delightfully exposes the eccentricities prevalent in the Ivy League institution and deftly plots out an academic mystery. Esme and Mr. Grey continue to prove stabilizing forces in Dulcie’s life, and Esme retains all of the feline qualities that cat lovers adore. Book lovers will also find much to appreciate in the descriptions that have scholars (who value books for their content) battling against thieves (who only appreciate their superficial price). Dulcie’s narrow focus may make her an irritant to the police, and her naïve belief in fellow academics may not be logical—but it is charming. Mr. Grey and Esme are considerably more sensible than their human, but with their support Dulcie will no doubt prevail in solving these very literary crimes.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Code Grey, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Code Grey,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 29, 2015. U.S. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. Special Note: The publisher is giving away 5 copes of this book with this review, but they can only give them away through a free online service called NetGalley–winners will be instructed on how to join by the publisher.
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You can use this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL and Mysterious Galaxy: