Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review of "The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell" by Lilian Jackson Braun


In this 28th addition to the series, billionaire newspaper columnist (and sometime amateur detective) Jim Qwilleran trots around town talking to people and engaging in miscellaneous activities while his 'psychic' cat Koko is signaling criminal activity. The book can be read as a standalone.


When "The Cat Who" series began Jim Qwilleran was a Chicago crime reporter who owned two Siamese cats, Koko and YumYum, and solved mysteries. In time Qwill inherited billions, moved '400 miles north of everywhere' to Pickax, became a newspaper columnist, met a lot of interesting locals, and continued to solve crimes. I've enjoyed many books in this quirky series, where Koko uses his 'kitty intuition' to help Qwill investigate. Eventually, though, the series ran out of steam and this book is a disappointment.

As the story opens Pickax is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary and the town planners organize a series of events - including parades, family reunions, an heirloom auction, and a kitten auction - to celebrate the occasion. Qwill is the 'go to' guy in Pickax and becomes involved, to some extent, in most of these activities.

In the midst of all this a rich local couple, Doris and Nathan Ledfield, ask Qwill to let their California-based nephew Harvey - a budding architect - sketch the barn Quill's converted into a home. Koko seems to dislike Harvey but all goes well until Harvey returns to California, after which Doris and Nathan develop severe allergies and disappear from public view. In another occurrence Koko yowls onimously...perhaps at the very moment a man is killed in a hunting accident. These seem to be the 'mysteries' in the story, but Qwill takes minimal interest in either one.

Instead, Qwill spends most of his time moving back and forth between his condo and his barn (weather problems); writing limericks and scrawling in his journal; chatting/having dinner with his lady friend Polly; enjoying beverages, snacks, and meals with various friends and acquaintances; emceeing the kitty auction; feeding and brushing Koko and YumYum; eavesdropping, listening to gossip, and otherwise collecting ideas for his newspaper column; etc.

I'll admit it was a small pleasure to meander around town with Qwill and see what Pickax residents are up to - though some of my favorite characters got short shrift. Still, "The Cat Who" books are supposed to be mysteries, and this just isn't one. If you're up for a quiet human interest story you might enjoy this book. Otherwise, skip it.

Rating: 3 stars

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