CAT ON A HYACINTH HUNT

Midnight Louie trips the light fantastic one more time as sleuth extraordinaire, defender of truth, justice and the American way.

It will be the hardest thing shes ever had to do. Somehow, public relations expert and sometimes detective Temple Barr must break the news to her tentative suitor, Matt, about her renewed relationship with the Mystifying Max. Still, it seems all too easy to delay such an admission while Matt tries to come to terms with his stepfathers deathyes, this time its really Cliff Effinger, and hes really, really dead.

Far more daunting, however, is the task of explaining the situation to her fur-lined roommate, Midnight Louie. The cool cat is not at all happy at the prospect of playing second fiddle to Max. Somehow, he must make it clear to his little doll that he doesnt share with anyone. So Louie decides to make his disapproval known by staging a boycott of Temples apartment.

It is, of course, not surprising that Louies midnight rambling leads him straight to murder, much to the dismay of homicide detective Carmen Molina, as well as Matt, Temple and Max. And this time the threat is very, very personal indeed.

As always, Ms. Douglas dishes up a crackerjack mystery, superbly developed and resolved. But even better, she provides a depth of ambiance and a keen insight to the soul that make each of her books a treasured keeper for her ever-increasing, totally devoted audience. (Apr., 384 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer