The first book in a (then) modern-day mystery series set in Las Vegas.

Publication year: 1992
Format: print
Publisher: Tor
Page count: 241

Midnight Louie is a large, black tomcat. He’s a former stray and even though he’s a house cat in the Crystal Palace hotel, he can come and go at his leisure. He fancies himself an amateur detective and his chapters are written in noir style in first person. When he stumbles upon a body (of a human), he realizes that he must help solve the murder mystery.

Temple Barr is a 29-year old freelance PR woman and this time she works for the American Booksellers Convention set in the huge convention center in Las Vegas. She’s just heard that two very famous library cats, Baker and Taylor, who were supposed to have been on display, have vanished. She thinks that Louie is one of them and chases him. Louie leads her to the murder victim and they start to investigate the murder and the case of the missing cats, both in their own ways.

The victim is Chester Royal, the founder and editor of Pennyroyal Press, an imprint of Reynolds/Chapter/Deuce publishing house. The Pennyroyal Press focuses on medical thriller. The more we find out about the victim, the clearer it becomes that almost anyone who had any dealings with him could have killed him. The three best-sellers from his imprint are the first suspects, along with his ex-wife. Royal was a quite a bastard, keeping the writers firmly under his thumb and he was apparently quite an unpleasant person to be around.

Temple escorts the detective around and tells her about the book business. C. R. Molina is very much focused on her job and doesn’t endear herself to Temple at all. Temple is also a hard-working woman but needs to be charming and personable in her job. She talks with the suspects and other people near Royal while doing her job.

The story is told mostly from Temple’s third POV and a little from Louie’s first POV. Of course, Louie doesn’t talk to any of the people, but he does talk to the other cats. He has nothing but disdain for dogs.

This was a nice and fast read. Because it’s set in book convention it no doubt has a lot of inside jokes which went right over my head. Also, I’ve never been to Las Vegas, so I don’t know how authentic the places are. Louie’s chapters are quite distinct because of his sizable ego. The story has a lot of characters for such a small book, but I had little trouble keeping them distinct.