True Grey by Clea Simon (Dreamscape Audio)

Tavia Gilbert delightfully portrays Dulcie Schwartz, gothic doctoral student. The story includes Dulcie’s ability to elicit details from the past, her present-day college quandaries, and sage words of advice from her ghost cat, Mr. Grey. Dulcie’s career is about to die a tragic death when she’s accused of murdering a visiting scholar whose research creepily parallels her own. Gilbert is best when reciting Schwartz’s gothic dreams, which predict the future, and passages from the mysterious author. As Dulcie’s hysteria mounts and she feels fellow scholars and administrators turning into foes, Gilbert’s voice becomes a bit shrill. Much better is her voicing of the occasional visits of Mr. Grey, whose voice is wonderfully somber and contrasts beautifully with the sweet live cat Esmée. AudioFile

Opening with lush, somewhat mysterious music, this fifth Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery finds Dulcie distraught after learning that visiting scholar Melinda Sloane Harquist plans to publish a biography about an eighteenth-century gothic writer, the subject of Dulcie’s thesis. Forty-eight hours after Dulcie “had publicly sworn to kill” Melinda, she finds the scholar’s bludgeoned body and is a prime suspect in the woman’s murder. Aided by ghost cat Mr. Grey and telepathic kitten Esmé, Dulcie tries to solve the mystery and clear her name. Gilbert does a nice job shifting between a British accent she uses to read the gothic author’s written excerpts and the American accent of the contemporary characters. Mr. Grey’s words are soothing, and Esmé’s voice is appropriately squeaky. Dulcie is a little brash and driven, but that seems to fit well with her personality. Listeners who love mysteries spiked with the paranormal and talking cats will eat this up. Booklist