cover image Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt

Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt

Carole Nelson Douglas. Forge, $23.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86634-1

Midnight Louie, cat detective, falls under the spell of an exotic feline fatale in his latest adventure, while his human, Temple Barr, is further swayed by magician-on-the-lam, Max Kinsella. Back in Las Vegas after a stint in New York City (Cat in a Golden Garland), Louie is in the audience at the Oasis Hotel watching the Egyptian barge battle, when a body is observed strapped to the prow of a ship. Ex-priest Matt Devine, another of Temple's enduring love interests, identifies the body as that of his unlamented stepfather, Cliff Effinger. What first appears to be just a mob-style rubout of a two-bit con man becomes something else with the discovery of a soggy note attached to the body that links Temple with hyacinths. While Temple and Max research the uses of the flower, Louie takes matters into his own paws and pads down to a nightclub called the Opium Den to take in the magic show of one Shangri-La and her lilac-point Siamese, Hyacinth. The humans finally tumble to Shangri-La's link to the case and converge on the magic show. But only after Temple is drugged, kidnapped and finally rescued with the help of a squad of DEA is resolution achieved. Midnight Louie's fans will rejoice that a perennial villain Cliff Effinger is finally laid to rest, and will likely hope for a comparable tidying up of Temple's increasingly tiresome vacillation between her two admirers. (July)