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The Cat Who Smelled a Rat

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About the Author

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.


Adult/High School-This delightful feline detective series continues with returning characters and introduces new residents of Pickax. It is the feline hero, KoKo, who realizes who is setting fires to the used bookstore and to the abandoned mines, causing deaths in the process. Unlike other cat series, such as those by Rita Mae Brown and Sharon Rousseau Murphy, KoKo and his mate, YumYum, remain typical cats accomplishing their sleuthing and giving hints with sniffs, yowls, placement of hairballs, and upset plants. Even their owner, Qwilleran, doesn't always understand what they are trying to tell him, but he is the one who sets the rattrap to unmask the villain in the dramatic climax. Braun provides an intricate detective story while portraying life in small-town America; everyone knows everyone, cares about them, is curious about them, and is eager to gossip about them, too. Purchase where the series is popular.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

The 23rd entry in Braun's Cat Who... series (The Cat Who Robbed a Bank; The Cat Who Saw Stars; etc.) testifies to the amazing popularity of mysteries featuring cats. Once again philanthropist-journalist Jim Qwilleran, columnist for the Something, the local newspaper of Pickax City in Moose County, turns for crime-solving help to his insightful and sensitive Siamese sleuths, Koko and Yum Yum. It's late October and the residents of Pickax are praying for the Big One, the annual blizzard that ushers in the long winter. This year it is much needed since the extreme drought conditions have made the area a virtual tinderbox. After several fires break out, volunteers form the Citizens' Fire Watch to protect the historic shafthouses, all that remain of the county's once prosperous mines. Anxiety increases as more fires occur and a volunteer is shot dead at one of the shafthouses. When the president of the local curling club dies from a fall, Qwilleran, with a twitch of his moustache and an ear-splitting shriek from Koko, joins his feline assistants to find the rat responsible before snow flies. Regular fans will enjoy being back with old friends and will be intrigued by the eccentric new additions to Pickax. The complexities of small-town life and the feline antics portrayed with Braun's apt wit and humor combine with a puzzling mystery to make for a most welcome addition to the series. (Feb. 5) Forecast: With a solid bestseller track record for this series, this entry is sure to claw its way up the lists. British rights have been sold to Headline. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Drought is tormenting Moose County, whose residents are praying for snowfall before wildfires threaten historic mining structures and the town of Pickax itself. With a murderous arsonist loose, there's plenty to keep the whiskers of both Jim Qwilleran and his psychic Siamese cat, Koko, twitching. This 23rd installment in the "Cat Who" mystery series is thin on plot but as strong as ever on character development, which is fine since one of the chief delights of these books is what they reveal about Qwilleran and Moose County. This volume, for example, tells us that Qwilleran is a lyricist who secretly turns out catchy tunes that get Pickaxians tapping their toes. On the other hand, perhaps it's time to acknowledge that Pickax, despite its remoteness, is a dangerous place. With its minuscule population, the two or three murders that Braun chronicles there each year must give it a per capita homicide rate similar to Detroit's. But these tapes are still great fun, especially when narrated by the masterful George Guidall. Recommended. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"A puzzling mystery...a most welcome addition to the series."--Publishers Weekly"The feelings produced by reading about Qwill and his pals can best be compared to that coziest of feelings--having a purring cat on your lap."--Booklist

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