Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
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's review
Nov 24, 2010

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bookshelves: contemporary, mystery, ultimate-reading-list, crime, fiction, novels
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Recommended for: Cat Lovers
Read on November 24, 2010 , read count: 1

This was an enjoyable novel, and I'd probably rate it higher if I were more of a cat lover. So many mysteries, it seems, depend on a gimmick; I've seen everything from quilting to recipes to herb lore. The gimmick in this novel, the first of the "Cat Who Could" series, is a supercat, Koko, a regal Siamese cat who can almost talk--although he doesn't appear until page 71. The human half of the team whose perspective leads us through the story is Jim Qwilleran, veteran reporter. Divorced and a recovering alcoholic, he takes a job on the art beat for the Daily Fluxion, a major newspaper in an unnamed Midwestern city.

The copyright on this book is 1966 and it shows. This is a world where typewriters are still used, electric pencil sharpeners shock as a cutting edge technology and it's worth noting the "inevitable girl reporter." A world where Qwilleran goes to a "Happening" and filled with characters like art critic George Bonifield Mountclemens III, "beatnik" artist "Nine-Oh-Two-Four-Six-Eight-Five" and a lesbian artist named--I kid you not--Butchy Bolton.

The newspaper world as well as that of the modern art scene, business, and artworks are well-drawn. Koko on the other hand, is too cutesy and unbelievable for me, and I felt the resolution of the mystery came out of not just out of left field, but way outside the ballpark and into the next town.

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