Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards. Lilian Jackson Braun. 1966. Compass Press. 227 pages.

Jim Qwilleran, whose name had confounded typesetters and proofreaders for two decades, arrived fifteen minutes early for his appointment with the managing editor of the Daily Fluxion. 

Jim Qwilleran is a new reporter in town. His days of working at a big paper in a big city are behind him--at least for now. And his new assignment, well, it wouldn't be his first choice, or second, or third. For his new job will have him covering artists. And Jim, well, he knows very little about art--especially "modern" art. Since there is already an art critic on staff, one who writes "reviews," he's a little confused about what this new job would require of him. Turns out, he's supposed to focus on the human-interest side of the art scene. So even though he'd rather be writing bigger stories, better stories, money is money is money.

Qwilleran only thought the local art scene would be boring. For within weeks of his taking the job, the owner of a local art gallery is murdered! And this murder is soon followed by an "accidental" death of another local artist. And then by the art critic himself! Can Jim Qwilleran, with a little help from a Siamese cat, solve these crimes?!

I loved this one. I did. I just loved it. I enjoyed Jim Qwilleran right from the start. And as soon as Qwilleran began taking care of his landlord's cat--his landlord having gone out of town for the week--well, I knew it was love. I loved Koko. I did. I thought the mystery was well written and playful and fun. Just something cozy and satisfying about it cover to cover.

Cats have many gifts that are denied humans, and yet we tend to rate them by human standards. To understand a cat, you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality. A cat's lack of speech does not make him a lower animal. Cats have a contempt of speech. Why should they talk when they can communicate without words? They manage very well among themselves, and they patiently try to make their thoughts known to humans. But in order to read a cat, you must be relaxed and receptive. (69)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

8 comments:

Shirley 2:26 PM  

I am so glad you reviewed a Lillian Jackson Braun novel. I'd heard of her books, just recently though, and was interested from the first. Sadly, with her passing on Saturday, The Cat Who...series is at its completion. Now I simply must find and read all of them. I do love a cozy mystery!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8:22 PM  

Becky, This sounds like a really fun read. I've always wanted to try this author.

Laura H 8:14 AM  

I have never read any of her books. I just assumed it had a talking cat in it or something. Maybe I think twice next time. Thanks for the review.

animewookie 8:32 AM  

Sounds very enjoyable. Lovely review :D

Kundan 1:44 PM  

I was confused whether to read Cat Who Mysteries or not. But now after reading your review, I am damn sure I am gonna read all of them. Thanks for the review.

Sakets 1:54 PM  

Lovely review... thanks a lot

Becky 10:26 PM  

Laura H. No, there are no talking cats. Just cats being cats, most of the time. (Though I'm not sure all cats play around with typewriters and cassette players.)

Kristina 1:50 PM  

You just reminded me that I have this one on my shelf (along with a few others in the series) I want to start reading them =) Great review, thank you!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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