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.
Cat mystery lovers beware! Pickax's Qwilleran and Koko have returned for a go at catching a train fancier who has embezzled millions from Moose County investors. Another best seller from the prolific Braun.
Best of series, this 17th The Cat Who caper slyly creeps up on the reader. The newest delight in Moose County, ``400 miles north of everywhere,'' is a railroad buff's refurbished locomotive, which is making its debut run. Floyd Trevelyan, the train owner, disappears just as the state closes down the credit union associated with his business. While others believe the man has decamped with investors' money, newspaper columnist Jim Qwilleran doesn't believe Trevelyan would abandon his railroad project. He persuades his friend and sleuthing cohort Celia, recently moved to Pickax City from Chicago, to go undercover to find the missing businessman. Meanwhile, librarian Polly Duncan, with whom Qwill has had a long-standing relationship, is becoming distraught about the house she is building nearby. After a carpenter on the project is stabbed in a barroom brawl and the contractor, Trevelyan's son, is seriously injured on the job, Qwill begins to fear for Polly's health. Qwill's Siamese cat, Koko, plays a central role in solving these puzzles as Qwill struggles equally to interpret the cat's hints and cope with those problems complicating his personal life. Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (Feb.)