cover image Cat Crimes 2

Cat Crimes 2

. Dutton Books, $19.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-285-0

This collection of 19 previously unpublished short stories featuring cats in one role or another, while perhaps not as successful overall as last year's Cat Crimes , offers enough enticing and/or bloodcurdling tales to please ailurophiles and suspense and mystery fans alike. Carole Nelson Douglas takes anthropomorphism to elegant heights as Midnight Louie, a tom who's a private dick, harries Las Vegas malefactors in ``The Maltese Double Cross.'' In Charlotte Macleod's ``A Long Time Sitting,'' a witch, who has been immobilized by a backfiring spell, and her feline familiar, Asphodemus, make life easier for a struggling young woman artist. In ``The Beast Within,'' Margaret Maron writes of a woman's revenge when she finds herself in the body of a cat after her wealthy husband abandons her for a younger woman. And a little bit of not-so-recent musical history is unveiled in Joan Hess's ``The Maggody Files: Hillbilly Cat,'' when a grasping nephew tries to cheat his old aunts out of a small fortune they do not know they have. (June)