Catnap (Midnight Louie #1) by Carole Nelson Douglas
I picked this book up years ago at a library book sale as I love mysteries and I love cats, so when they are combined they are a serious winner!
This book is not only a noir-it is a chat noir! LOL
Midnight Louie is a giant, eighteen pound cat who roams the streets. He used to call the Crystal Palace Casino his home, but since the owner got married and had a baby-it isn’t really the place for him.
He’s a P.I. investigating crimes on the strip and finds himself at the convention center where the ABA, American Booksellers Association, is holding thier annul convention. As he peruses the book stalls, he discovers a dead body-stabbed by a knitting needle. Not wanting to be the one who is suspected for the murder, he decides to have someone else find the body.
That patsy just happens to be Templeton Barr, P.R. for the ABA conference.
Templeton Barr had a wonderful job at the Guthrie Theater and left it to follow her magician boyfriend to Las Vegas, Nevada. He disappeared, and Temple couldn’t get her job back-so she stayed in Vegas, working as a freelance P.R.
She is finishing up her work, worried sick about the disappearance of Scottish Fold cats, Baker & Taylor-mascots for the booksellers; when a guard tells her a cat has been spotted on the main floor. Templeton scurries down there to find Midnight Louie and the dead body.
It isn’t just any body, but Chester Royal, head of Pennyroyal Press-specializing in medical murder mysteries and thriller. He was a rude, crude, penny-pinching, misogynistic man who only cares about himself and making more money for himself. Suspects abound!
He was found with the knitting needle through the chest and the word “STET” on his body.
Templeton has a PR nightmare, but gets the idea to use Midnight Louie-detective cat angle-shielding the B&T cat disappearances and making the story a human interest piece on the front page.
She also finds herself caring for Midnight Louie, investigating the murder, and having to do a ransom drop to get the B&T cats back.
She goes to work investigating, but will curiosity kill this P.R. cat?
Thoughts After Reading:
It’s funny because I read this book over thirteen years ago and Baker & Taylor meant nothing to me, other than a side storyline. Now that I work in a library, as soon as I read Baker & Taylor I knew it meant the booksellers and I knew how important the cats are. Funny, isn’t it.
I thought it was an interesting mystery-especially the switching of chapters from Templeton’s view to Midnight Louie’s 1940s PI entries.
The mystery was a bit dry and hard to slog through in places. I also think how she figured it out was a bit jumping the shark-as a new character enters the story in the last few chapters that holds the “key” to discovering the truth.
I hate that. It always feels lazy to me or a last ditched effort to figure out a way to reach the conclusion instead of interweaving it throughput.
For more Noirvember, go to Wolverine Noir
For more cat mysteries, go to The Tell-Tale Purr
For more mysteries with Private Detectives, go to Lowcountry Boneyard
For more mysteries set in Las Vegas, go to Innocent in Las Vegas
For more books from a library book sale, go to The Key to Midnight