A Rum Toddy slunk into the bar parlor of the Angler's Rest hoping not to draw attention to the matching scarf and wooly cap his mother-in-law had knitted him.
"That's a fetching little cap you have on! Look how precious it matches the muffler!" shouted a Stout.
"Everybody's a critic!" complained the Rum Toddy.
"On the contrary, it takes a special cut of man to be a critic," said a Mr. Mulliner, setting down his Scotch and Lemon. "I speak from personal experience, for my nephew Egbert Mulliner recently suffered a trying time as a book critic, and he has very nearly sacrificed his sanity to pursue his trade."
"Oooh, he married a lady author, didn't he?" recalled Miss Postlethwaite, the helpful barmaid. "What went wrong with his book reviews, then, to upset him so?"
"It seems that this year," expanded Mr. Mulliner, "All the big books are struck with an uncanny similarity in their titles. From January through May, poor Egbert was expected to review one novel per month, and the book titles were all composed of a combination of two or three of these words: Silent, Fate, Change, Dawn, and Mystery (with a preposition or two tossed in)."
"Good Lord!" expressed a stricken Neat Rye.
"Some of the authors are quite well known, too!" said Mr. Mulliner. "There's Percy Gorringe, Lady Florence Craye, Rosie M. Banks, Daphne Delores Morehead, and Egbert's own cousin Charlotte Mulliner! Egbert had his critiques at the ready - he typified each individual novel with one specific adjective - describing them (in no particular order) as "lucid", "fearless", "visceral", "dreamlike", and "expressive". It's only with the greatest of difficulty that he was able to sort them out for his reviews, and no one has been able to recall which was which ever since."
"I wish I knew!" said Miss Postlethwaite. "I need a couple of good novels to take on my week's vacation! Tell us what clues you can remember, Mr. Mulliner, and we can figure it out!"
Can you help sort out the novels, authors, when reviewed, and what adjective was used, from the following ten clues?