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.
Braun's ubiquitous feline detectives investigate thievery in this, the 19th installment in a best-selling series.
Nothing is sacred in this latest installment of the trials and tribulations of life in Moose County, "400 miles north of everywhere," as locals face a green Christmas, an outbreak of petty larceny and a tacky new resident. As the holidays approach, someone has taken to stealing small articles of apparently little value‘gloves, sunglasses, a bag of old clothes, an antique doll. But these seem minor distractions from larger matters, like the new banker, Willard Carmichael, and his wife, Danielle, a flashy young woman with big hair who teeters on spiked heels as she flirts with an uncooperative newspaper columnist, Qwilleran, seen last in The Cat Who Said Cheese (1996). Willard fits right in, devoting himself to restoring Pleasant Street's Victorian homes with the help of Danielle's cousin, Carter Lee James, a preservation consultant. Just after Christmas, Willard is killed in a mugging in Detroit; then a local boy is arrested for the petty thefts and an old friend becomes engaged to James, all events that raise Qwill's suspicions and inspire strange behavior in his sleuthing cats, Koko and Yum Yum. Cranky and sometimes acerbic, Qwill fights off the sentimentality of the season while investigating the world of historically correct renovations. By springtime, with the help of Koko in particular, he brings a murderer and thief to justice in an accomplished mystery that is as smooth as the season's first snowfall. Mystery Guild and Readers Digest Condensed Book selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate. (Feb.)
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