cover image Cat in a Golden Garland

Cat in a Golden Garland

Carole Nelson Douglas. Forge, $23.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86386-9

Midnight Louie takes Manhattan by storm as he and his human companion, Temple Barr, breeze into town at Christmas for his audition for the job of feline spokesperson for the Alpetco cat food account. Competition is fierce, but the newly vasectomized Louie seems likely to win out with the family values-conscious advertising executives over the less politically correct, unaltered Maurice, who has fathered a litter of kittens with the unwilling Divine Yvette, Louie's love. Home base for Louie and Temple is the Greenwich Village condo of Temple's aunt, Kit Carlson, formerly an actress and now a romance writer. Even away from her Las Vegas home, Temple continues to be torn between her love for the magician Mystifying Max Kinsella and her affection for former priest Matt Devine. The flamboyant Kit, who adds considerable spark to this bright cast, dispenses advice to her lovelorn niece as liberally and as she does wine and conversation. But murder once again commands attention, this time at the Madison Avenue ad agency's Christmas party, when Santa is snagged by a chain looped around his neck on his way back up he chimney. The appearance of a second Santa, who may have been the intended victim, confuses everyone but Louie, who, without turning a hair, draws on his awesome sleuthing skills to find two pieces of evidence that point to the killer. Douglas (Cat in a Flamingo Fedora), who knows how to spin a fine tale, hits her stride with Louie's latest and eighth appearance. (Nov.)