Rarely have we seen or read mystery novels that have no murder or mysterious death. Now, there is one which claims to keep you engaged till the last page because of the racy plot. Clea Simon is a versatile mystery writer who has concocted such a story in her latest “Code Grey” (216 pages, Severn House, $28.95), the ninth entry in her series featuring Dulcinea “Dulcie” Schwartz, a doctoral candidate at a university in Cambridge, Mass. This novel has been set in academia and is full of suspense. While this is a one-time read like most suspense novels, it keeps you thinking even after you’ve finished the story.
Dulcie is working on her dissertation about an anonymous author who had written one Gothic novel two centuries ago. But her dissertation is interrupted when Jeremy “Mumbles” Mumbleigh — a homeless, aging former student with psychological issues — is found gravely injured and whose coat conceals a rare book believed stolen years ago.
Convinced that Jeremy is innocent, Dulcie sets aside her research. But when she discovers that the stolen volume is connected to her own work, she increases her efforts to search for more information about the anonymous author who becomes the focus of her life.
During the search, as always, she gets help from the spectral presence of her late cat, Mr. Grey, and her current feline, Esmé — and from Thomas Griddlehaus, who heads the university library’s rare-book collection.
The novel is really appealing and keeps the reader engaged without the spice of a murder.