cover image Cat in a Kiwi Con

Cat in a Kiwi Con

Carole Nelson Douglas. Forge, $24.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86955-7

Even diehard fans may have trouble keeping the various narrative voices and story strands straight in Nelson's 11th mystery to feature Las Vegas's Temple Barr and her gumshoe cat, Midnight Louie. When homicide detective Carmen Molina asks former priest Matt Devine to take her daughter Mariah to the TitaniCon, a science fiction convention, little does she know she's putting her only child in the middle of a murder investigation. When Louie finds a dead man on a catwalk at the con, he tries to make the man's murder apparent by pushing the body to the ground, but the police consider the death accidental. Only after the star of Khatlord, a popular SF TV show, is electrocuted by falling into a neon sign do Molina and her men work to catch a killer amid the bizarrely costumed convention attendees. Some green-dyed kiwis give Louie a valuable tip. Meanwhile, the stabbing death of a professor who studies magicians leads to a search for the prototype of the ornate knife worn in replica by the futuristic Khatlord warriors as part of their body armor. Readers picking up this volume will be understandably confused and mystified by many of the references, which have their roots in past books. The professor's murder, for those who care, presumably awaits a solution in a future Midnight Louie mystery. (May)