In the 13th installment of this series, an overriding question for the bemused reader might well be why Alice Nestleton, an out-of-work actress/sometime cat-sitter, has carte blanche to investigate a Manhattan murder case--examining the crime scene and interrogating anyone with ties to the victim. Hired by veteran actor Joseph Vise to take his pet to cat-psychologist Wilma Tedescu, Alice, after a long session alone in the waiting room, finds the therapist shot to death in an inner office. Alice's on-off boyfriend Aaron Stoner, of the NYPD, sees striking similarities with the ten-year-old, unsolved murder of a never identified woman, and Alice is off and running. Wilma's estranged, much younger husband Igal is the prime suspect, and Alice pesters him at length, learning in the process about Wilma's sideline in photography. There are questions for all of the cat-patient owners Alice can find: jumped-up theater costumer Rita Falco; dour stand-up comic Mickey Repp; store owners Chris and Raymond Dunn; jewelry appraisers and designers Wyatt and Leslie Tanner. In the end it's the photography angle that pays off in Alice's elaborately baited trap--nailing a killer and solving an old mystery. One of the year's sillier plots, blithely narrated in a with-it style; punctuated by line drawings of encounters with eccentric but invariably lovable felines; and dominated by a heroine whose manic energies cry out for a steady job, or at least a p.i. license.