It was inevitable. Who better than one legend to delve into the mystery of another legend? Thus, when the ghost of Elvis is spotted lurking about the Crystal Phoenix hotels construction site, it is only fitting that Midnight Louie himself take up the case of the mysterious apparition.

It is surely no coincidence that a super new casino dedicated to the King is celebrating its opening with an Elvis impersonator contest. As a wild assortment of Elvi congregate in rehearsal, it becomes clear that someone is out to rig the competition with malice aforethought, including murder.

Miss Temple Barr, pet human of Midnight Louie, is no slouch in the sleuth department either. Determined to protect a friend whos participating in the pageant, she brings in the big gunsnine Fontana brothers all dressed as the King! Meanwhile, her friend Matt, a former priest turned radio talk show host, is fielding calls purportedly from Elvis himself, sparking newspaper headlines and much heated debate.

Integrating the extraordinary power of the Elvis phenomenon into a cleverly conceived mystery, Ms. Douglas views past and present through this uniquely American prism. The end result is as haunting in its intensity as the legend himself. (May, 350 pp., $5.99—Hardcover published November 1999)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer