Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review of "The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare" by Lilian Jackson Braun

In this 7th book in the series, Jim Qwilleran (Quill) - formerly a crime reporter in Chicago - is living in a town called Pickax in Moose County.....a region that's '400 miles north of everywhere.' Qwill moved to the nether regions because he's required to live in Pickax for five years to get his inheritance: the Klingenschoen fortune and the Klingenschoen mansion. One of Qwills notable characteristics is his luxuriant moustache, which twitches when something is 'off.'

Qwill isn't very interested in the trappings of wealth, so he uses the Klingenschoen billions to establish the philanthrophic 'K-Fund'.....and is converting the Klingenschoen mansion into a museum. To this end, Qwill hires Mrs. Iris Cobb to be his housekeeper/house manager. This works out well because Mrs. Cobb - an antiques expert - will catalogue the contents of the mansion. Moreover, Iris is a wonderful cook, and bakes delicious cookies and cakes.

Two other members of Qwill's entourage are his beloved Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum, who have their own 'apartment', eat gourmet food, and get lots of attention: Qwill talks to them, reads to them, brushes them, and so on.

Yum Yum is a normal kitty - who likes to swipe and hide shiny things, but Koko is very unsual: he's a sort of 'cat clairvoyant' who can sniff out evil; predict crimes; mount rescue operations; etc. Koko communicates via yowls, facial expressons, and unusual behavior. In this book, Koko continually knocks Shakespeare books off the shelf.....especially Macbeth.

Though 'the cat who' books are ostensibly cozy mysteries, the 'mystery' part of the stories is sometimes rather nebulous.That's certainly the case here. For the most part, Qwill keeps busy with normal everyday things such as: dating the head librarian, Polly Duncan; taping the remembrances of elderly Pickax residents; hobnobbing with acquaintances from 'down below' who've moved to town for employment; conferring with Junior Goodwinter - the editor of 'The Picayune' - about modernizing the newspaper; avidly following the weather reports to see when 'the big one' (a huge snowstorm) will hit; and doing other mundane things.

On the 'suspense' side, a few things do concern Qwill: several people, including Senior Goodwinter (Junior's father) are killed in car accidents; Qwill's old friend Hixie Rice - a restaurateur - is acting hinky; and Mrs. Cobb is dating a businesman named Herb Hackpole - an unpopular, bad-mannered lout who drinks a lot and is mean to the cats. (Boo! Hiss!)

By the end of the book a crime is uncovered and a tragedy has occurred....and it looks like Koko predicted it all.


I have to say, Lillian Jackson Braun is not shy about divesting Moose County of people and property in her books. LOL


I've been a long-time fan of this series, and I enjoyed this book (which is a re-read for me). It would be preferable to start at the beginning of the series, but "The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare" can be read as a standalone without missing much.

Recommended to fans of cozy myteries.

Rating: 3 stars


  1. This sounds delightful. The entire backstory is intriguing. Thanks.