Cat in a White Tie and Tails by Carole Nelson Douglas is the twenty-fourth in the Midnight Louie cat cozy mystery series (available August 7, 2012).
Midnight Louie travels from Vegas to Chicago with roommate Temple Barr and her fiancé, Matt Devine. The Chicago trip begins with a scare as Midnight Louie is kidnapped in his brand new leopard-skin-print pet carrier. Of course, it takes a lot more than a couple of misplaced tough guys to hold Midnight Louie. He’s soon back with Temple and helping uncover the many secrets Matt’s family has. When the three return to Vegas, Matt and Temple (and Louie of course!) are soon embroiled in a complicated mystery along with Temple’s former love, ex-magician Max Kinsella.
Carole Nelson Douglas hasn’t slowed down in this twenty-fourth book of the Midnight Louie series. The cat sleuth manages to keep himself involved in everything Temple does. While the humans are busy with their own sleuthing, Louie and his Cat Pack work hard to keep Temple safe and be everywhere they’re needed. These cats are as well organized as the Mafia, and they know who-does-what-best on the street. There’s also a secret society, the secret Matt’s mother is hiding about his birth, and did I mention the hidden money?
Whew! If you feel out of breath, it’s because the pace of this story makes it difficult to sum it up in the few words I have here. It keeps the reader on a dead-out run from start to finish.
I find Carole to be a very verbose writer and at times the action becomes so involved that the words seem to tumble over each other trying to get out. She clearly knows Las Vegas very well and is a true cat lover, and the chapter titles are wonderful. You’ll become very involved in “Midnight at the Oasis,” get very nervous about “After-Hours Nightmare,” and probably get tied in knots about “Motorcycle Melodrama.”
The chapters written from the feline’s point of view are as entertaining as those from the human perspective. I’ll give you a sample of both.
Midnight Louie’s musings:
Las Vegas is my beat.
I love this rambling, gambling entertainment capital with a supersized dose of lights, action, and camera—security or otherwise.
The lights . . . the security and tourist cameras . . . and the action remain as bright and frenetic as always. Our landmark hotel-casinos and allied institutions are still puttin’ on the glitz.
Me, although a Las Vegas institution, I have always kept a low profile.
You do not hear about me on the nightly news. That is how I like it. That is the way any primo PI would like it. The name is Louie, Midnight Louie. I am a noir kind of guy, inside and out. I like my nightlife shaken, not stirred.
Being short, dark, and handsome . . . really short . . . gets me overlooked and underestimated, which is what the savvy operative wants anyway. I am your perfect undercover guy. I also like to hunker down under the covers with my little doll. So would some other guys, but they do not have my lush hirsute advantages.
Miss Temple Barr and I make perfect roomies. She tolerates my wandering ways. I look after her without getting in her way.
Call me Muscle in Midnight Black. We share a well-honed sense of justice and long, sharp fingernails, and have cracked some cases too tough for the local fuzz. She is, after all, a freelance public relations specialist, and Las Vegas is full of public and private relations of all stripes and legalities.
And from the humans involved:
Blond Matt Devine wore his usual impeccable yet casual beiges.
Temple Barr was dressed to impress in a shiny red pencil-skirted suit that looked like leather. Her dark strawberry blond hair glowed redder in the naked sunlight. A leopard-pattern tote bag and matching high heels spiced up the look.
A white-haired older woman in a hot pink muumuu and orange flip-flops shepherded them into boarding order as a Yellow Cab pulled up.
Used to the soothing grey greens of the Irish countryside, Max’s eyes almost winced shut at all the bright colors glaring in the sunlight.
Despite his ultra-dark sunglasses, it was like watching a Technicolor silent film. Matt Devine gestured to instruct the cabdriver on the proper order in loading the three bags. Temple hefted her bulky tote to the floor of the SUV’s second passenger row behind the driver, and then hugged the landlady, Electra Lark.
How odd to observe people he had known and who knew him as if they were pantomiming strangers.
Temple turned to see how the luggage-stowing was going, waiting for an assist up the SUV’s first big step. At her height in those heels and that tight skirt, she needed it. At around a hundred pounds, she would get it.
Not a casual girl, in any respect. Max could give her a lift in a second, even with his recovering broken legs, and spin her around.
For an instant, his mind flashed inside the building to an earlier time. He saw himself doing just that, and Temple laughing.
His hands tightened on the Volkswagen’s steering wheel. When Matt Devine came to the vehicle’s side to do the escort honors, Max looked away, up the lone palm tree trunk toward the Circle Ritz’s triangular corner balconies. One of those had been his—theirs—once.
A suspicious stirring among the tall oleander bushes edging the parking lot caught his eye. The cause of the suspect motion was a pair of stray cats, one black, one striped.
Carole is a prolific writer, with fifty-eight novels under her belt. In addition to Louie’s series, she has written science fiction, fantasy, and historical novels. A former newspaper reporter, she based Louie on a real cat she wrote a story about who actually made his residence in a hotel and munched on the fish in the hotel’s pond.
You may want to curl up with your cat to read Cat in White Tie & Tails by Carole Nelson Douglas out loud. It’s a big adventure with real “catty” undertones!
Leigh Neely is a former newspaper and magazine editor. She currently does freelance work, blogs at womenofmystery.net, and recently wrote the short story, “A Vampire in Brooklyn,” which is in the anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices. She and her writing partner, Jan Powell, recently sold their paranormal novel, Second Nature, under the pseudonym Neely Powell.
Read all Leigh Neely’s posts for Criminal Element.