Cat in a Sapphire Slipper (Midnight Louie Series #20)

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Overview

Cat in a Sapphire Slipper is the twentieth title in Carole Nelson Douglas’s sassy Midnight Louie mystery series. The tough-talking, twenty-pound, tomcat PI is as feisty as ever as he and his gang try to keep his favorite roommate from losing her man.

PR honcho Temple Barr’s romance novelist aunt Kit has wound up in a romantic plot of her own. She’s snagged one of the most eligible bachelors on the Strip, one of the elder Fontana brothers, a ...

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Cat in a Sapphire Slipper (Midnight Louie Series #20)

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Overview

Cat in a Sapphire Slipper is the twentieth title in Carole Nelson Douglas’s sassy Midnight Louie mystery series. The tough-talking, twenty-pound, tomcat PI is as feisty as ever as he and his gang try to keep his favorite roommate from losing her man.

PR honcho Temple Barr’s romance novelist aunt Kit has wound up in a romantic plot of her own. She’s snagged one of the most eligible bachelors on the Strip, one of the elder Fontana brothers, a silver-tongued reputed ex-mobster with a heart of gold.

There is to be a wedding…and where there is a wedding there is usually a bachelor party. Things go disastrously wrong when the entire party is hijacked and taken to a remote ranch out in the Nevada desert, a place where the women are wild and the sex is legal. And among the group? None other than Temple’s own Matt, an ex-priest.

Truly a fish out of water, he soon comes upon a beautiful young woman who is quite naked and most thoroughly dead. Given the remoteness of the location with very few suspects on hand (plus the Fontanas' shady reputation) this could be a very bad thing indeed.

And Louie? Well, he managed to go along for the ride and once again it’s up to that big old tomcat to bail out his humans and save the day.

Cat in a Sapphire Slipper is a fast-paced, racy mystery with a loveable cast of characters and one terrific tough dude to keep them all in line.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The fur-flying 20th entry in Douglas's cat whodunit series (Cat in a Red Hot Rage, etc.) reveals that magician Mystifying Max Kinsella, Temple Barr's former sweetie, has been secretly whisked away to a European hospital, where he suffers from amnesia and is attracted to his sexy doctor. Meanwhile, Temple, who believes Max is dead, has become engaged to Matt Devine, former priest turned radio self-help guru, Mr. Midnight. Temple is also helping her romance novelist aunt, Kit Carlson, prepare to wed, but when a bachelor party prank goes awry, Matt and various members of the groom's family wind up at the Sapphire Slipper, "the finest and classiest little licensed brothel" in Nye County, Nev., where Matt stumbles on a murdered prostitute. Midnight Louie, feline sleuth, offers his considerable expertise in solving crimes of passion. Douglas explores the campy, lighter side of "chickenranches" at the same time she exposes their seamier aspects. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
The clock is ticking as Midnight Louie and Temple Barr investigate a murder at a Nevada chicken ranch. Don't look for any feathered friends in one of Nevada's legal houses of prostitution, an unlikely spot for the suave Fontana brothers' bachelor party. Gumshoe cat Midnight Louie leaves his human companion Temple Barr to an evening with her soon-to-be married aunt Kit and joins her fiance, former priest Matt Devine, at a bachelor party hijacked by the bridesmaids, annoyed at the lack of marriage proposals from their Fontana boyfriends. When an unidentified lady of the night turns up dead, Matt, hiding nearby, becomes suspect No 1. Temple arrives on the scene in hopes of identifying the body and breaking the case before they are forced to call in the police. Meanwhile, the longtime love Temple thought dead, magician Max Kinsella, awakens with a case of amnesia and two broken legs in an Alpine clinic he's forced to flee after surviving a murder attempt. His wild adventures form a counterpoint to the more cerebral case in Nevada, which can't be solved without help from Midnight Louie. Latecomers to this long-running series (Cat in a Red Hot Rage, 2007, etc.) will be glad to see an opening chapter that helps make sense of a long list of intertwined characters from former tales. As always, Louie outshines the human cast. Agent:Howard Morhaim/Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
From the Publisher
“Temple Barr, public relations whiz, rocks Las Vegas with her wacky friends and enemies, fast-paced action, and laughs! Add her nose for murder, to-die-for heels, and a sexy pair of suitors, and the romantic suspense is criminal. Oh, and Midnight Louie is the funniest, hairiest, hard-boiled PI on the planet.”

—Janet Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author of Lean Mean Thirteen

“Douglas’s humor and keen plot twists keep this long-running series purring.”

Publishers Weekly on Cat in a Red Hot Rage

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765358295
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Series: Midnight Louie Series , #20
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 453,240
  • Product dimensions: 4.08 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Carole Nelson Douglas is the author of the bestselling Midnight Louie series as well as the historical suspense series featuring Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have "outwitted" Sherlock Holmes. She resides in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A Surprising Scenario

The after-dinner crowd was exiting the Crystal Phoenix Hotel and Casino’s revolving rooftop restaurant, the Crystal Carousel.

Temple and Matt still stood at the head table, watching the last stragglers file up to Temple’s aunt Kit and Aldo Fontana farther down the table, congratulating them on their surprise engagement announcement. The nine bachelor Fontana brothers had been a Vegas institution until Temple’s novelist aunt from Manhattan, sixty and scintillating and devotedly single all her life, had hit town and hit the eldest Fontana brother, Aldo, "in the eye like a big pizza pie," as the old song went. That’s amore.

The dinner had celebrated Temple’s public relations triumph for her employers at the Phoenix: solving the murders at the Red Hat Sisterhood convention and saving the hotel from Bad Press Hell.

"We still could have said something about us," Matt whispered to her.

That "something" would have been the surprise announcement that Miss Temple Barr, Vegas’s premier freelance PR woman and occasional crime-solver, was engaged to be married to Mr. Matt Devine, more widely known as "Mr. Midnight" on a syndicated late-night radio counseling show.

This engagement had been more than a year in coming, since Matt, an ex-priest, had first come to Vegas searching for an abusive stepfather. He had subleased a condo in the same building Temple had lived in with her significant other, the missing magician, Max Kinsella, aka the Mystifying Max.

A lot had happened in a year. Max had returned after almost a year away, but Temple had already sympathized with the handsome ex-priest trying to settle old family matters and exchange his longtime celibacy for an enduring new love.

It had looked like Temple might be the one until Max—Temple’s earlier, tempestuous love—had turned up again. But Max was a man with a secret mission. A counterterrorism operative since his teens, a man with a price on his head was in no position to maintain a serious relationship, even with Temple trying her best to warm the embers of her old love.

Now, Max was mysteriously missing. Again. Now, Matt and Temple had committed the sin of full emotional and physical commitment. She had the engagement ring. All that was left was to arrange the church ceremony, blessing and legalizing their love.

Temple the woman could live with that. She would always love Max and wish him well, but a girl had to move on. Matt was a dream of a man, not only attractive, but decent and caring in the extreme. And she’d secretly wanted him, bad, for a long time. Ever since Max, for good secret agent reasons, had abandoned her so long for her own safety.

Temple the crime-solver chafed at the idea that Max could vanish for good and all this time, and she’d never know why. Or where. Or whether he was alive or dead.

Matt squeezed her hand. "A Sacajawea dollar for your thoughts." He knew where her feminist sentiments lay. But he didn’t need to know her still-raw regrets about Max.

She needed to tell Max her decision herself. She needed to say good-bye.

"Hey." A couple was coming up to address her and Matt, not the official lovebirds.

Some couple. It was Lieutenant C. R. Molina’s two top homicide detectives, the seasoned Morrie Alch and the petite but per sis tent Merry Su.

Su sparkled in her black sequin-trimmed riding jacket and thigh-high-slit slim black skirt. She looked like the Dragon Lady and had been acting that way toward Temple since Molina had asked the PR woman, and not Su, to go undercover as a teenager at a reality TV show shot in Las Vegas, on which Molina’s teen daughter was a contestant.

Alch, always the diplomat, drew Matt into conversation and edged away as if glad to escape his partner’s company for a bit. Su was a tenacious detective, but she could be abrasive. Temple understood that. Short, petite women like her and Su had to compensate somehow. Temple did it with an extensive high-heel collection. Su did it with nerve.

"I suppose," Su said, "you miss your pal Lieutenant Molina being here."

"Hardly my pal," Temple said. She and the tall, no-nonsense lieutenant had wrangled over Max and why he went missing and whether he’d committed an unsolved murder on the way out of town for more than a year.

Still. She would have loved Molina being in the audience when her engagement to Matt was announced. The half-Latina detective might have harbored a hankering for the dishy Polish-American ex-priest. They were the same religion, after all, and Molina had never married and must be pushing forty. Temple was on the cusp of thirty-one, and Matt was thirty-four.

Su smiled, always a bad sign. "The lieutenant hasn’t been in to work the last couple of days."

"Really," Temple said, unwilling to admit she was interested.

"The flu, they say."

Temple frowned.

"The Iron Maiden of the LVMPD never is out sick," Su continued.

Temple wasn’t surprised. Molina had never let up in her vendetta against Max. They’d even duked it out mano-a-mana (if there was such a thing) in a Strip club parking lot. Molina had finally caught Max and he needed to get away fast because he knew Temple was in danger of becoming the next Stripper Killer victim.

Su’s piquant face had a sly, triumphant look.

Payback time for Temple, a rank amateur, copping a prime undercover assignment she had wanted. It didn’t matter that it had frosted Molina’s tortillas to ask such a favor of an antagonist. Temple had gotten the job, not Su, who was as capable of looking sixteen as Temple was, if that was an advantage when one was almost thirty-one and aching to be taken seriously in life and love.

Su leaned close to whisper, at just the right level of Temple’s left ear.

"The rumor is that the lady lieutenant flipped and eloped with that hunky magician you used to call yours. That’s why Max Kinsella is missing. She is too! They’re off together on a quickie marriage license and making whoopee in some cheap motel."

NO!

Temple fought to look unruffied. No. Max would never— Molina would never—but look at Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Men like a challenge, and nobody liked a challenge more than Max. Strong women like stronger men. And Molina was a strong woman.

It made a kind of crazy sense.

Temple’s pulse was pounding in her . . . temples. She moved away from Su, who slunk into the waning crowd like a snake relieved of its poison. Temple was aghast. Disbelieving. Stunned. Betrayed. Jealous.

She looked for Matt, for a glimpse that would restore stability, remind her how much she loved and desired him.

He wasn’t there. Nobody still lingered at the head table. Everybody had drifted away without her noticing.

It wasn’t just Max anymore. It was everybody.

She gazed around.

The entire room was empty.

She was alone at the banquet table with its abandoned dessert plates and crumpled peach linen napkins.

This was a nightmare!

She needed somebody to tell her so, and nobody was there for her.

Not even the malicious Su anymore.

Max and Molina. Max and Carmen.

No!

Temple swallowed. She wanted to shout the word, but she couldn’t.

She couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak, shout.

No.

This was a nightmare.

Her nightmare.

She blinked her eyes open in the dark.

A warm hand was on her arm.

"Are you all right?" Matt’s voice came from the dark. "You were making almost strangling noises. Temple?"

Was she all right?

Obviously not, if she was still dreaming about Max.

Maybe this dream was the real good-bye. Her unconscious had paired Max with her worst enemy, the woman of her nightmares, and bid him adieu. Said good riddance to them both.

That was it. The dream was a sign any feelings for him were over. All gone. Gone with the Molina.

So revolting! Ugh.

She shuddered.

"You’re cold," Matt said, tightening his grasp. "Let me warm you up."

Excerpted from Cat in a Sapphire Slipper by Carole Nelson Douglas

Copyright © 2008 by Carole Nelson Douglas

Published in September 2008 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Ther series just keeps getting better and better. The characters

    Ther series just keeps getting better and better. The characters are unique and it is easy to get caught up in all of their story lines. Of course, Midnight Louie is the best! Sam Spade with nine lives, what a combo.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    Great fun, as usual

    One doesn't read these for the plot as much as for the fun characters, esp Midnight Louie. This one is another lark.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Louie is back

    As always Ms. Douglas has captured the spirit of Las Vegas and made us believe Midnight Louie is real. His cat family, as well as his human family, are all involved in a wonderful caper at a Nevada 'cat house'. I look forward to Louie's next adventure and more time with Temple, Matt, Max, and Carmen. They have become family too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    Superb mstery

    Las Vegas based public relations guru Temple Barr assumes her former lover magician Max Kinsella is dead. Though grieving for him, Temple is engaged to former priest Matt Devine, better known as the radio self help jockey Mr. Midnight.------------ However, Temple is unaware that Max is alive given the name Mr. Randolph by the hospital staff as he suffers from amnesia while healing near the Alps after taking a severe fall in Nepal. Temple¿s romance novelist Aunt Kit Carlson is getting married, but the bachelor party is going to be for the men including Matt at the renowned legal brothel Sapphire Slipper chicken ranch in Nye County, Nevada. To his chagrin, Matt ends up with a dead hooker. Midnight Louie believes the murder was one of passion so must decide who loved the prostitute enough to kill her.----------- The amazing thing about this Midnight Louie cat crime caper is that the feline is on his third life of books, but the writing magician Carole Nelson Douglas shows her skills by keeping the frolic fresh, funny and fun. The amusing look at the Nevada chicken farm industry enhances a strong whodunit while Max struggles in Europe to figure out his name. Fans of the series will appreciate this engaging lighthearted romp as Louie visits the Sapphire Slipper.---------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted May 1, 2011

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