True GreyWould you hand me that paper? The one on the chair? And, yes, yes, please have a seat.

I’m sorry. I know we made this appointment to chat. I know you’ve got questions about the final exam and I’ve got your paper somewhere here. I’ve really been trying to be better about my office hours. After all, an important part of my role as a graduate student is teaching – and that means being accessible to all of you who make the trek to my tiny basement office. Let me just … oh, sorry. Was there a pencil there, too?

Oh, yes, your final paper. I’m sure I have it here somewhere. I only finished this last batch of bluebooks last night, and my cat Esmé saw the stack and well… you know how cats are. Yes, I should have this all online. Only, you see, with one thing and another, I’m not only behind on my grading, but I’ve gotten off track in my thesis, too. You see, there was this other scholar who… Except that she…

Well, I should explain. I know you’re just taking this class to fulfill your distribution: fiction before 1850. It’s a lot more fun than most of you think. Really, it is – even if it’s mostly fun stuff, written by women – yup, they called them “She Authors – and often aimed at female readers. But not many of us want to specialize in it anymore. And since I am in my fifth year of my dissertation, you would think that I would have claimed my territory, so to speak. Marked out my area of expertise within the confines of the late 18th Century Gothic Novel, so that nobody else would be writing about it – or writing, specifically, about one really cool author. After all, most of my colleagues don’t care about dramatic stories and haunted castles, romantic flights of fancy, or, well… ghosts. Most scholars don’t have their own little secret – a certain feline ghost who shows up every now and then to lend me a hand.

So you can imagine my surprise when that visiting scholar showed up. And showed up with an almost-ready-for-publication manuscript about my author, my period. My area of expertise! And, no, Mr Grey – my faithful ghost cat – didn’t see fit to warn me. But that doesn’t mean that I had any involvement in her death. Really. And – oh! Here’s your paper. Did you want me to explain my comments?

** Clea is giving away one (1) signed paperback copy of an earlier book in the “Dulcie Schwartz” series. Contest open to US residents only and ends January 10. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

You can read more about Dulcie in TRUE GREY, the fifth book in the “Dulcie Schwartz” feline mystery series. The first book in the series is Shades of Grey.

Meet the author
Clea Simon is the author of three mystery series. She’s just finishing up the next (sixth) Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery, Grey Dawn, which will be published next June. Her next Pru Marlowe pet noir (the third), Parrots Prove Deadly, will come out in April, and she is also the author of four Theda Krakow cats & crime & rock & roll cozies. A New York native, Clea now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their kitty, Musetta. You can follow her on Twitter or get to know Clea at her blog or her website (she’s also on Facebook and Goodreads).

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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