Lilian Jackson Braun died this week at the age of 97. She was born in 1913, but did not publish her first “Cat Who…” book until the 1960’s. After releasing three novels, she believed that her style of clean mystery was not as marketable as other grittier novels. With encouragement, after time she resumed writing her mystery series and published 29 books with her 30th abandoned in the years before her death.
Her novels featured a reported named James Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats Koko and YumYum. Qwill was smart, literary and loved baseball. Qwill had a difficult early life but had come into his own in the 40s as a journalist and investigator. He was deeply attached to his two cats, with whom he shared psychic abilities. Qwill sensed danger or clues in a tingling sensation in his mustache, while Koko had a sixth sense that allowed him to find evidence and howl whenever there is a violent death.
Braun’s latest and final book was The Cat Who Had Sixty Whiskers – “Welcome to Moose County, the home of Lilian Jackson Braun’s sleuthing cats, Koko and Yum Yum and their owner Jim Qwilleran, in this, the 29th book in her critically acclaimed ‘Cat Who…’ mystery series. Moose County, four hundred miles north of everywhere, is in an uproar (good and bad) following vast inheritances from wealthy old families. Only “Cool Koko” knows what’s happening …and he’s not telling. Jim Qwilleran thinks it’s because he has more whiskers than ordinary cats, but who’s counting? Meanwhile…Koko meets a piano tuner; Polly goes to Paris; Qwill writes a play (an absurdist play titled The Cat Who Got Elected Dog Catcher); and there’s a mysterious death from a bee sting…” publisher