cover image Cat on a Blue Monday

Cat on a Blue Monday

Carole Nelson Douglas. Forge, $21.95 (381pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85607-6

Midnight Louie, the 19-pound feline detective and self-decribed ``one cool dude,'' pads the streets of his hometown Las Vegas in his third case (after Pussyfoot ). From a psychic Birman cat named Karma, Louie hears that danger threatens a gathering of cats; the targets may be the cosseted kitties at the Las Vegas Cat Show or the 73 strays who live with elderly Blandina Tyler. Interfering in his sleuthing is Louie's ``little doll,'' diminutive publicist Miss Temple Barr, who is at the cat show when another Birman is discovered shaved. Temple's neighbor, attractive ex-priest Matt Devine, gets involved while investigating obscene phone calls directed at stone-deaf Sister Mary Monica, who lives at the convent near Miss Tyler's home. The plot thickens when the convent cat survives an attempted crucifixion on Miss Tyler's door the day before she herself is found dead at the bottom of her staircase. Are satanists responsible? Did the tippling Father Hernandez hope to secure his parish's legacy before Miss Tyler left her money to her cats? While probing these mysteries, Louie must also discover why Caviar, the hostile kitten that Temple brings home, is also called Midnight Louise. Louie sniffs through plenty of plausible red herrings and avoids getting himself tacked up on the church door before pointing a claw at the killer in this brisk tail that even mystery readers who don't love cats will relish. (May)