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Cat in an Alien X-Ray by Carole Nelson Douglas

Cat in an Alien X-Ray” is the 25th in Douglas’ “Midnight Louis Mystery” Series.  Authors who follow the alphabet have some difficulty tying in the title that contains a less common letter like X, and I think Douglas was reaching a bit to tie the plot into an alien X-ray.  Of course, since the locale for this series is Las Vegas which is located next to the infamous “Area 54” any number of weird story threads are possible.

I have always considered this a rather silly series.  I don’t especially appreciate animals that voice their thoughts and call the shots that save the day each time, and the cat, Midnight Louis, comes through again to save his person, Temple Barr, and her friends and love interests, Matt Devine and Max Kinsella.  There is a continuing storyline that is laboring toward a climax (perhaps by the time we get to Z in the title).  A reader who just drops into this mystery might get confused, so its primary appeal is to Douglas’ army of existing readers.

Even though I have misgivings every time I sit down to read one of the books in this series, like every other fan of the Midnight Louis series, I can’t seem to stop because I want to find out if Temple actually marries the devine Mr Matt and if Max actually survives his ever-increasing encounters with Kitty the Cutter, the IRA agent who likes to punish men for the abuse she suffered as a child in Northern Ireland.  Both Max and Matt are hurt by this woman in this episode and one wonders why they haven’t turned her in to the ever-alert Lieutenant Molina by now.  Both men appear positively entranced and willing to come under Kathleen O’Connor’s blade just for the privilege of trying to figure out what makes her tick.

I’m disappointed that Temple seems to take a back seat in this installment.  She gets stuck dealing with a rather silly potential client who wants to build a hotel-casino off the Strip that has some connection to aliens and Area 54.  Otherwise, Matt, Max, Midnight Louis and Kitty the Cutter take center stage in “Cat in an Alien X-Ray.”

Loyal fans will read this book, if only to keep up with a long term addiction.

Liz Nichols

 

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Cat in a White Tie and Tails by Carole Nelson Douglas

Cat in a White Tie and Tails” is about number 24 in the Midnight Louie Mystery series and is one of the most enduring of the mystery series based on the antics of animals.  Midnight Louie is a particularly sophisticated and precocious black cat owned by Las Vegas PR entrepreneur, Temple Barr.  In this rendition, Louis accompanies Temple and her fiance, Matt Divine, to Chicago where they stay with Matt’s mother and they take a look at a potential job opportunity for Matt as a media host in his home town.  Louis is stolen right out from under the couple at Matt’s mother’s house, but the furry sleuth manages to get himself out of trouble before anyone can figure out where he has been taken.

Meanwhile, back in Las Vegas, former magician, Max Kinsella, has been asked by his nemesis, Detective Molina, to help solve the seemingly random murder of Cliff Effinger, Matt Devine’s stepfather.  Molina suspects Kinsella of the crime and is hoping that the master magician will incriminate himself.

As usual, Douglas has laced this mystery with plenty of action of the human and feline variety but one wonders how much longer this series can go.  It appears that in the next installment or two Temple and Matt will get married and Max will ride off into the sunset.  A good many of the loose ends of killings that occurred in the last installment or two are tied up in this book.  We already see Max and Temple going their separate ways now that she has settled upon life with Matt, the former priest… unless, of course, the author introduces some new twist.

The best parts of “Cat in a White Tie and Tails” are the chapters Nelson writes (supposedly) with Midnight Louie. Louis is sophisticated, confident and sassy and at the top of his game.

Liz Nichols

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