Ever wonder how Midnight Louie, that dapper feline sleuth, got his start? For years, his early adventures languished in the out-of-print files of his original publisher. But now, thanks to his collaborator Carole Nelson Douglas and Five Star publishing, fans have a chance to relish his first venture onto the pages of a book.

And relish they will, as Midnight Louie takes charge of the lives of his first patrons, aspiring hotelier Nicky Fontana and Van von Rhine, his lovely, newly-hired decorator-cum-manager, as they transform an old Las Vegas landmark into a top-of-the-line casino.

This isnt an easy task for either of them. Nicky, the White Sheep of the Fontana family, is determined to keep his business legit despite the smothering concern of his mafioso family. For Van, the garish ambiance of Las Vegas requires quite an adjustment. Even more disturbing, however, is the very unprofessional attraction she feels for her sexy new boss.

Someone, however, doesnt want the hotel to open and is willing to do anything to stop it. Who but Midnight Louie could possibly find out why?

Restored to its original length, Midnight Louies debut is a gem to cherish, shimmering with Ms. Douglass delicious wit and superior craftsmanship. Stay tuned for the next three books in which Midnight Louie struts his stuff with dash and elan. (June, 325 pp., $20.95)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer