Grey HowlTalk about herding cats! I never thought a three-day conference could be quite so crazed. But the guests are just arriving and already everything is going wrong. I may be book smart, but suddenly, I’m in over my head: What’s with the sound system in Hall A? Why is the acting director being such a space case? And I know Stella Barnes is a rising star – but must she be such a diva? All my friends are telling me about her fling with Marco Tesla but is the hunky Professor Barnes under her spell as well? And is that the only reason all these academics come to these conferences? Mr Grey, I’m going to need all the help your feline spirit can send my way if I’m to get through this one alive.

If I can only keep everything under control, this could be my big break. Even though I’m only a grad student (fifth year), I’ve been named the department’s liaison to the conference – which means that I’ll get serious face time with all these stars, scholars from all around the world. When I finish my dissertation – I’ve got to stop saying “if” – these contacts will be invaluable. Surely, someone will want another newly minted PhD with an expertise in Gothic novels. At least, if I can keep everyone on track and at the right venue.

That’s worth my time, surely. Even if I’d much rather be working on my own thesis or, even better, at home with Esmé the cat. She’s not a kitten anymore, but she still deserves some play time, and really, I can concentrate better when I’ve got a purring kitty by my side. Maybe tonight, after the Moonlight Party, I’ll be able to do some work. Maybe Chris, my boyfriend, will be home – those strange disappearances of his are beginning to worry me. This should be easy, right? A cocktail party in one of the university’s most beautiful courtyards. It’s not like somebody could die there… could it?

You can read more about Dulcie’s adventures in Grey Howl, the seventh Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery from Severn House. The first in the series is Shades of Grey, and the books (all of which feature the feline spirit, Mr Grey) are available at bookstores and online outlets.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on April 24 and you will be entered to win a copy of one of the earlier books in the Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery series (Shades of Grey, Grey Matters, Grey Zone, Grey Expectations, True Grey, Grey Dawn). Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen at random. U.S. residents only please.

Meet the author
Clea Simon is the author of 15 mysteries in the Theda Krakow(4), Dulcie Schwartz (7), and Pru Marlowe pet noir (4) series, as well as three nonfiction books. The latter two mystery series are ongoing and include her most recent books, Grey Howl (Severn House) and Panthers Play for Keeps (Poisoned Pen Press). A former journalist and nonfiction author, she lives in Somerville, Mass., with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta. She can be reached at and is on Twitter.

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