Celebrate the Christmas season in purr-fect style as supersleuth Midnight Louie takes on the Big Apple in another glorious extravaganza of murder and mayhem.

It's Midnight Louie's chance for stardom as he strolls into the prestigious advertising agency of Colby, Janos and Renaldi to try out for the role of corporate mascot.

The claws are out from the moment he and his human, Miss Temple Barr, walk through the door, and not all of them are feline.

Still, it is Christmas, and even the fiercest of negotiations must take a break for the classic office party, to be hosted by the senior partner as Santa Claus. Someone, however, has other plans for Santa, and it is Midnight Louie who discovers the body.

In a virtuoso performance, Ms. Nelson and her furry companion in crime neatly lead us down the garden path into one surprising plot twist after another until we arrive at the exquisitely crafted denouement. And meanwhile, Temple's personal life takes yet another unexpected turn and leaves us with an absolutely delicious cliffhanger to savor.

The pleasures of Carole Nelson Douglas are indeed myriad for the discerning reader. A superlative wordsmith who uses language with both precision and élan, as well as a highly perceptive observer of the quirky ironies of life in our times, she makes reading a new and joyous experience all over again. (Dec., 352 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer