- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Cat Who
Who is The Cat Who?
The amazing cat, Kao K'o-Kung, known as Koko to his close friends, is the Cat Who .... can do almost anything.
Koko, with his almost supernatural talents, features in twenty nine mystery novels by Lilian Jackson Braun and although his actions figure prominently in the stories, it is a man, Qwilleran, who is the main character.
The Cat Who books are gentle mysteries, suitable for all readers. Crimes are committed, including murder most foul, but the stories are always told without graphic imagery or offensive language.
The Background of The Cat Who
The primary human character is Jim Qwilleran, a top-notch investigative reporter who has apparently spent years in the newspaper business but because of his problems with alcohol has run out of job options.
Despite having to play second fiddle to Koko and Yum Yum (another cat who appears in the second novel) Qwill is the pivot of the series.
His life is on a downhill run, he's basically an alcoholic, can't keep a job, and one calamitous night in a drunken stupor he falls in front of a subway train to be narrowly rescued by onlookers. After that, Qwill takes himself in hand, sobers up, and lands a job at The Daily Fluxion.
This is where The Cat Who Could Read Backwards and the series begins.
Assigned to cover subjects like modern art, antiques, interior decorating, and restaurant reviews, Quill acquires Koko and Yum Yum, cats who are both orphaned by murders.
Lilian Jackson Braun
Braun keeps her private life just that, private. These days she is in her nineties - The Cat Who Could Read Backwards was written in 1966.
After writing The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern and The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Braun disappeared from the publishing scene for 18 years. It's been suggested that mystery novels were starting to focus on sex, violence, and foul language after 1968, and Braun's light-hearted books could not fit into this new style.
Luckily for readers, in 1986 The Cat Who Saw Red appeared. Over the next two years, four new novels were published and the twenty-ninth novel in the series was released in 2007.
Her books all contain the dedication "Earl Bettinger the husband who..."
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards
Jim Qwilleran is a former investigative crime reporter with a shady past who ends up at a small town newspaper, the Daily Fluxion. He is hired as an art columnist (though he knows nothing about the subject) and rents a room from the paper's art critic.
Quill becomes friendly with a Siamese named Kao K'o-Kung and, when a local art gallery proprietor is murdered, a series of dark events begin. Mysteries are unraveled with the help of a certain intelligent feline.
The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern
In this second of the series, Quill is taken off the Art beat, and assigned to the task of putting together a colour supplement for the Daily Fluxion. The subject? Interior Decorating!
Quill has the daunting task of writing a weekly magazine style insert titled "Gracious Abodes" to focus on the world of interior design, another subject of which he knows nothing ... but it seems as if his new assignment has a curse.
Several mishaps occur with each edition, and Qwill begins to believe that someone is out to make the Fluxion and himself look bad.
The Cat Who books are highly literate, with a focus on art, classical music and Shakespeare.
A little more about Siamese Cats
A clip from The Ideal Companion: A DVD Guide to Cat Breeds
© 2009 Vladimir