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


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.

My Gallery of Worlds 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.)

Anonymous,  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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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).

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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.)

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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.

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