The history of Lilian Jackson Braun is perhaps as exciting and mysterious as her novels. Between 1966 and 1968, she published three novels to critical acclaim: The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, and The Cat Who Turned On and Off. In 1966, the New York Times labeled Braun, "the new detective of the year." Then, for reasons unknown, the rising mystery author disappeared from the publishing scene. It wasn't until 1986 that Berkley Publishing Group reintroduced Braun to the public with the publication of an original paperback, The Cat Who Saw Red. Within two years, Berkley released four new novels in paperback and reprinted the three mysteries from the sixties. Since then, G.P. Putnam's Sons has published seventeen additional novels in the Cat Who series. Braun passed away in 2011.
In this tame, nonmysterious mystery, bucolic Pickax City, in Moose County (``400 miles north of everywhere'') is first disrupted by vandalism, then by murder. When Harley Fitch, vice-president of the Pickax Bank, and his wife, Belle, are found shot to death, police chief Brodie, a bagpipe-playing Scotsman, thinks that vandals, from neighboring, low-class Chipmonk are responsible. After three of the suspects die in a car accident, the case is effectively closed. But Jim Qwilleran (``former journalist, now heir to the Klingenschoen fortunea big man about 50, with graying hair, bushy moustache and doleful expression'') doesn't agree. Involved though he is in starting up a newspaper, juggling several platonic romances, redecorating his house and spoiling his Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum, he finds time to snoop around. He doesn't discover anything, except for the spotted pasts of the deceased. Eventually, the killer attacks Qwilleran and his identity is made known; there are no clues, no logical way for the reader to figure out whodunit. The author's device of introducing every scene with stage directions, and her reliance on stereotypical characters, may bore even the readers who find Koko and Yum Yum as irresistible as Braun ( The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare , The Cat Who Played Post Office ) does. Mystery Guild featured alternate. (September)
Praise for Lilian Jackson Braun and the Cat Who series
"A master of mystery."--People "Upbeat prose and amiable characters."--Publishers Weekly "The mix of crime and cats [is] catnip to readers who like both."--Chicago Sun-Times "Braun keeps both paws on the side of charming."--Los Angeles Times