cover image Cat Crimes

Cat Crimes

. Dutton Books, $18.95 (260pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-253-9

Each of these 17 crime stories features a cat--as plot device, detective or nemesis. In Barbara Paul's particularly fine ``Scat,'' an aspiring nightclub singer befriends a mistreated cat that rescues her when she becomes involved with murder, mobsters and a corrupt cop. ``The Lower Wacker Hilton,'' a detailed procedural by Barbara D'Amato, follows two police officers into the underground realms of the Chicago homeless, where an old myth about cats trips up a sad and pathetic killer. In the lighthearted ``Horatio Ruminates,'' by Dorothy B. Hughes, the feline hero manages to oust his mistress's unpleasant layabout nephew with the aid of a litter of playful kittens. The first story in the volume, ``Ginger's Waterloo'' by Peter Lovesey, tells of a snobbish young Englishman whose advice to an opportuning fellow commuter has unintended consequences. In ``Buster,'' Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes saves a woman's life when he finds out how and why one of her many furry companions dies. While most of these tales make good reading, all but the most ardent ailurophiles might want to consume the volume in small bites. (July)