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Cat in an Indigo Mood

 

Forge Books (Hardcover),
ISBN 0-312-86635-6
Even newcomers to Douglas's cat noir mystery series will enjoy Cat in an Indigo Mood. But be forewarned. When Midnight Louie dreams of danger, he doesn't fool around. The threats this black cat star sees in his sleep shadow human and feline alike. 

Homicide Lieutenant C. R. Molina moonlights as a torch singer in the Blue Dahlia, a Las Vegas jazz club. After a particularly late set, Molina discovers a body sprawled next to her car. The words, "She left," spray-painted on the car door seems to be a message from the murderer, but it tells Molina nothing.  

Determined to identify the dead woman and a second victim found in a church parking lot, Molina reluctantly calls on her "usual suspects." Louie's human and part-time sleuth, Temple Barr's nose for news sniffs out several important clues. But it will take more than Temple's instincts and her knowledge of Las Vegas consignment shops to track the killer. 

Meanwhile, my hero Louie meets the lovely Fanny Furbelow, a pure white puss with one blue eye and one yellow (I think I'm in love!), who stalks into Louie's fish pond -- er, office with a load of trouble. Fanny asks Louie to find Wilfred, the love of her current life as a domesti-cat. Goaded into keeping his mind and roving eye on the job by Midnight Louise (who may or may not be Louie's daughter), Louie hunkers down to solve the case. 

Molina's and Louie's cases prove to be more closely related than either would like. The threads of each mystery are tangled tighter than a skein of yarn after the kittens have been playing with it. With the help of a few feline associates and a dope-sniffing Maltese Terrier, Louie takes his thread between his teeth and eventually worries it free. 

But other threads of the mystery reach far into the past of each featured player: Molina, former priest Matt Devine, Temple and Max Kinsella, Temple's often mystifying paramour. Wily tailspinner that she is, Douglas leaves enough loose ends dangling to tease us into future books of the series. 

Cat in an Indigo Mood marks the 10th Midnight Louie mystery and a big departure from business as usual. For the first eight books, you saw Las Vegas and solved its mysteries from the heads of Temple and Louie. In book nine, Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt, you began to see events from Matt's perspective. In Cat in an Indigo Mood, you find yourself seeing the points of view of Molina and Max, as well as Temple, Matt and Louie. 

The ball of mystery threads spins between Temple, Max, Matt, Molina and Louie. They catch their leads as they can, but they can only untangle the snarls by working together. The way the characters bring their different visions and experiences to the mystery feels like the way murders would be solved in real life. It's an elegant ballet of motion, time and circumstance, which must have been difficult to write. But Douglas, like Louie, makes the impossible look easy, time after time. 

Ttoo (as told to his human pet, Suzanne Frisbee)

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