This is the latest – and for the moment the last – of the marvellous series of Midnight Louie/Temple Barr feline detective novels that have wound their way from A to Z. There is as much fun as ever in this the 28th book in the series.
Multi-genre novelist Carole Nelson Douglas is the writer of of two bestselling series: the contemporary Midnight Louie feline PI mysteries, and the Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, noir urban fantasies set in 2013.
Douglas has won more than thirty writing awards, including RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Awards for Mystery and Versatility. Her NYT Notable Book of the Year, Good Night, Mr. Holmes, launched a series following the adventures of the first Sherlockian woman protagonist, Irene Adler.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Midnight Louie is an oversize black cat , a cool feline detective with Attitude. The novel is written either in his voice or in third person.
All the much loved characters are back and this book rather neatly ties up a lot of the ongoing interwoven plotlines and dilemas.
Life is changing for feisty red haired PR whizz Temple Barr and Midnight Louie, her intrepid, stalwart feline companion.
Temple is finally getting married to the man she loves, dishy ‘Mr Midnight’ radio host Matt Devine, but no amount of feverish wedding preparation can keep Temple, Matt, or indeed Midnight Louie, from investigating the surrounding mysteries.
There’s still the awkward nasty business with the international terrorism and the FBI to consider and some tricky entanglements with Temple’s ex fiance , magician Max Kinsella. Will Temple and Matt move from Vegas?
References to pop culture of the 21st century, as well as to that of the 20th century are included, for example when Matt’s mysterious caller (possibly Elvis ?) mentions the : “The Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Two crooners, an actor-in-law to President Kennedy, a comic and a singin’, dancin’ dude like two Jumpin’ Jack Robinsons…”
There are nifty pop songs, musical and culture near quotes ( from South Pacific, and The Wizard of Oz) and Louie has the film noir snappy repartee down to a fine art.
There are also many references to the extremely complicated connections — familial and friend – of the characters who have populated these 28 novels so we learn what happens to them including Electra , Temple and Matt’s landlady, Ambrosia (Matt’s radio boss), the dazzling nine Fontana brothers, Nicky and Van the owners of the Circle Ritz where Temple is official PR person, Detectives Molina and Nadir and Mariah and their colleagues, Temple and Matt’s families , and villainess Kathleen O’Connor aka Kitty The Cutter … Not forgetting on the feline side of things Midnight Louise , Ma Barker and her gang the Vegas Cat Pack ( I love the description of cute Punky the feisty kitten towards the end ) and Solange and Yvette.
As it is the last of the series ( but hopefully not of Louie’s adventures) the book resolves the mystery of what happened to the hidden IRA stash which is linked into the mystery of the hidden mobster millions. It also re-unites Sean, the lost cousin, with his family, and Max Kinsella , the prodigal son, with his. There are powerful emotional family scenes of reconciliation and explanation.
The major focus is however The Wedding at which Louie is ringbearer (there is a wonderful description of the search for The Dress) and all the preparations involved. The rehearsal is explosive ( is it all a dream while Louie is dozing or real ? one wonders upon first reading ) and the actual service makes it sound like a fairytale wedding..
I wouldn’t start with this book though , but would suggest readers unfamiliar with Louie’s books choose earlier ones in the series to start off with.
At times I felt the book was perhaps a bit rushed. Still overall it’s a terrific Douglas book, wonderful for Louie fans , that has humour, some typical Louie caustic asides, fascinating and well portrayed characters and enough complicated twists and turns to delight any mystery reader especially one who has been following the series from the beginning.
Cat in An Alphabet Endgame by Carole Nelson Douglas
• Wishlist Publishing
• ISBN: 1943175055
• ISBN13: 9781943175055