Fresh from his first adventure (Time Stops for No Mouse), Hermux Tantamoq, watchmaker, amateur sleuth and intrepid mouse about town, finds himself drawn into another intrigue when his artist friend Mirrin Stentrill's exhibit of cat paintings incites a riot. Long presumed to be mythical creatures by the urbane small rodent population of Pinchester, cats are a taboo subject. No one knows that better than Mirrin's old chipmunk flame, Birch Tentintrotter, who was run out of town decades ago when he deciphered an ancient map to the kingdom of cats. He reappears unexpectedly with another old scroll, and mouse history may never be the same. "We're going to discover once and for all if cats actually existed or this has just been a horrible hoax," Mirrin determines. Soon they are off, with the odious playboy scholar (and revisionist historian) Hinkum Stepfitchler III and his fiance, hilariously self-serving cosmetics millionaire Tucka Mertslin, on their collective tails. Birch, Hermux and the mouse of his dreams the lovely aviatrix Linka Perflinger race to find the ancient tomb of Ka-Narsh-Pah, and its cat-and-mouse secrets. Hoeye's galloping plot, evocative descriptions ("The papyrus was the bleached yellow of September hay") and exuberantly sophisticated wit ("Tucka was happy. She loved rich people. They were so much fun. They were so full of life. And they had so much money!") keep the pages rapidly turning. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.