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The Cat Who Played Brahms

(The Cat Who... #5)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  9,136 ratings  ·  360 reviews
an alternate cover edition can be found here

Is it just a case of summertime blues or a full-blown career crisis? Newspaper reporter Jim Qwilleran isn't sure, but he's hoping a few days in the country will help him sort out his life.

With cats Koko and Yum Yum for company, Qwilleran heads for a cabin owned by a long-time family friend, "Aunt Fanny." But from the moment he ar
Mass Market Paperback, 245 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by Jove
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  9,136 ratings  ·  360 reviews

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Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book Review
Another fun release in the "Cat Who" series by Lilian Jackson Braun with this fifth installment, The Cat Who Played Brahms. I gave this one a 4 of 5 start as it introduces us to Aunt Fanny, thus beginning the transition for Qwill from the big city to 400 miles north of everywhere. By now, you get the formula... you know who he is, but this one brings out his softer side when he delves deeper into retirement. Looking for relaxation, he stumbles into a mystery at the cabin a
aPriL does feral sometimes
'The Cat who Played Brahms' by Lilian Jackson Braun features Jim Qwilleran, currently a restaurant reviewer for a Midwestern newspaper, the Daily Fluxion, and his Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum. It is 1987. Qwilleran is an old-fashioned kind of guy, maybe in his late forties/early fifties? He was a war correspondent and a crime reporter until his terrible marriage ended in divorce. He had also been an alcoholic, ruining his career, but he now is a teetotaler. He has a lot of debts.

Do not trembl
Ange H
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This 5th installment was my favorite so far. With the move to Moose County, the series is injected with humor and whimsy, and the characters and mystery are engaging.

This time, Qwill's beat was ... no beat!

When the building he’s living in (Maus Haus from the previous book) is sold and the residents given notice, Qwill decides it's the perfect time for a vacation. For years, wealthy family friend "Aunt Fanny" Klingenschoen has been offering him the use of her lake house in Moose County, so he l
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it was just because I was on vacation while reading this or what, but I enjoyed this installment more than any of the others in the series so far. As usual the story is full of quirky characters, some new and some old. The mystery itself is also very tame, but still likable. When the identity of the killer was revealed at the end, I was surprised. For some reason Braun's books always end up surprising me at the end. And the cliffhanger at the end was great! What will Qwill do--ta ...more
Sarah {The Bookish Knitter}
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, cozy-mystery
4 Stars
Alondra Miller
3 Stars

Koko, Yum-Yum and the guy who is allowed to take care of them, take some time from the big city and go to the big country. Huge mistake; but definitely puts our amateur sleuths to the test. This was a continuation of the fun we have with Qwilleran and his cats (owners).
Una Tiers
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Meet Aunt Fannie here! A nice smooth pace and a plot with twists and turns. Qwilleran faces life changing decisions again.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always follow publication order but this series hinges on chronology and rewards sequential effort. Jim changes homes in each of these first five books. I have heard “The Cat Who Played Brahms” introduces a permanent residence. Events establish their lifestyle hereafter. Jim visits his Mother’s dear friend, Fanny; who regards him as a nephew. He is keen on a vacation and accepts her seldom used cottage at a nearby beach town.

I loved watching him discover the thoroughfares and personality of a
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm trying to go all the way back to the beginning of the series! This felt almost like the first, but it's actually #5. It's interesting reading about the Michigan of years ago - by now, all of these little towns would be full of strip malls, the Dimsdale diner would be gonezo, people couldn't just "not print" stories about murders (someone would write a blog and then it would be on national TV), etc. I like that in these earlier books Qwill seems a bit younger and there's a bit more of an edge ...more
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pleasure
I'm only going to rate one of the books from 'the cat who' series because for the most part they are all equally excellent in my eyes and there are far too many of them to go through one by one. The books are by and large a laid back, easy going, day to day approach to mystery solving.

Of the ones I have read though, this was my favorite. It was actually shifted the series from the setting of the first books to a new one, but that plays only a minor part in why I liked it. Simply put some storie
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this one, we see the introduction of Moose County and its group of interesting inhabitants. This is where the series took a huge turn, from the main character living in the big city and barely scraping by as a journalist to his having a wealthy honorary aunt and everything that entails. As usual, anywhere Qwill and his cats go they end up dealing with a huge mystery usually including an unusual death. Truthfully I would avoid Jim Qwilleran at all costs because so many people die around him. T ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: oop, cozy-mystery
Maybe this should be 3.5 stars, but I don't mind rounding it up for the cats! A delightful series with a good feel about it. Fun to read, and interesting to try to solve the mysteries. ...more
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I have previous ones. It seemed rushed and lazy.

Qwilleran was extremely unlikeable with his wannabe womanizing and his treating Tom like a servant.

The mystery itself was very bland and uninteresting. We didn't have enough time to even get to know the town's characters before the murder occurred. Koko's exploring and IMMEDIATELY bringing the clues felt very lazy on the author's part and also lacked the playful suspense that I have loved so much about this seri
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
A detective series that features a crime-fighting Siamese cat must tread carefully. The author misses a step here as the light-hearted tone of the previous stories is gone, replaced with an overly convoluted plot, an affable main character turned snobbish, and the cast of Deliverance (okay, maybe not that bad, but close).
✨ Gramy ✨
I like the main character in this series and his hometown characteristics. It's fun to tag along and experience his quirky lifestyle. I don't care for cats, but his don't demand too much attention.

Happily tapping along through these adventures.
Susan Webb
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Quill and his cats! This is where the inheritance started. He has a lot to learn about the town of Pickax!
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This series is stupid and easy and doesn't require a ton of thought. ...more
Cindy O
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THE CAT WHO series is one of my oldest favorite cozy mystery series. They are simple enough that anybody can read and follow the plot but not shallow. The character Jim Or “Call me Qwill” has a lovable depth to him. His 2 siamese cats, Koko and Yum-yum, are written so well that being a cat person myself and have also been previously owned by Siamese cats find myself laughing and chuckling while reading. The other characters are also well done.
This series is the epitome of cozy mystery books. Wh
Joy Gerbode
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode in this series. Having read several of the books out of order, this one gave me a more clear sense of the characters and set the stage for some of the books later in the series. I enjoyed the mystery, though still not a fully defined mystery. Overall, the characters are what make the books work ... Qwill, Koko, Yum Yum, ... and all the other people who are so real.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Another solid Cat Who - but not my personal favorite. With Qwill’s move to the country it took longer than usual for the mystery to really get going.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my least favorite of the series so far - rather ho hum. But it does detail the transition and the beginning of a new phase in Jim Qwilleran's life. Qwilleran was not such a likeable character in this book, and his personality took a dive. He seems to be somewhat arrogant, self-centered, unsympathetic, no noticeable reaction to Fanny's death, and seems to be enamored with the younger women in the area. His one redeeming quality are his cats Koko and Yum Yum. They don't play much of a role ...more
Taylor Troncin
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book #5 in this series has to be the best one yet!! It offered a break from the art-focused conversations from the previous 4 books in the series. I look forward to reading more!
Maybe it's just contrariness, but as much as I disliked the next book in the series, as much did I like this one. If it hadn't been mooched I might have kept "Postoffice" because "Brahms" introduces characters I know will be killed or killers.

ETA: this is another unfortunate similarity to M.C. Beaton, who also has her protagnists stagnate in non-relationships, but teasing even worse by breaking it up in each book again and again. Braun seems to have set up a galley of characters to use as killer
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
A typical Cat Who book in the series.

I thought this book had a bit more humor than previous books in the series. I actually found myself chuckling out loud a couple of time. It was an interesting twist that the plot was set in a new town, and I liked the change of scenery. However, the murder wasn't as interesting as other books.
This had to be the first Cat Who book in the series that I noticed it's age! Firstly, the romantic dynamic with Rosemary was pretty sexist and is absolutely a product of
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In THE CAT WHO PLAYED BRAHMS, Qwilleran's new location and neighbors breathe the life that I missed in THE CAT WHO SAW RED. Qwill, taking a summer's leave on the shore of the Great Lakes with his cats Koko and Yum Yum, immediately engages with his wealthy "Aunt" Fanny and the neighbors around his borrowed cabin in Mooseville. While supposedly standing empty, the cabin seems to have been Crime Central, and now Qwill is in someone's way. The ending leaves Qwill breathless with shock and totally in ...more
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really cute. Of all the animal sleuths I've read this week, this has been my favorite.

Some of the transitions are a little rough. This editor didn't believe in the "***" to separate jarring scene breaks, I reckon. If not for that and some of the dated sentiment (super sexist), it would be five stars.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is the first book of this series that I have read, since we somehow for some reason own it and I was looking for a quick fluff read. It definitely fit that description! The mysteries all grow and interweave, the characters are ok but nobody really stood out or caught my attention and I had trouble keeping a couple of people straight. All in all a fun little read but nothing super striking.
Mike (the Paladin)
This is the book where Qwill moves to "Moose County", the place that becomes his home in future books. In this one he takes a cabin though he will move in later books, and again, gets involved in murder. Well, Qwill and the cats. ...more
A really cute book. A complete change of pace from what I've been reading lately. I was halfway through the book before the dead body showed up. Of course, the stars of the show are the cats. The language is a little flowery for me, but not enough to stop me from reading more. ...more
Barbara L Dorlaque
Love these books

I thoroughly enjoy the entire "The Cat Who..." series of books. Each one is better than the last. This is my third time through the books. Braun is a great weaver of words.
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The Women's Myste...: The Cat Who Played Brahms #5 4 16 Mar 21, 2014 02:52PM  

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Lilian Jackson Braun was an American writer. She is well-known for her light-hearted series of The Cat Who... mystery novels. The Cat Who books center around the life of former newspaper reporter James Qwilleran, and his two Siamese cats, KoKo and Yum Yum in the fictitious small town of Pickax located in Moose County, "400 miles north of everywhere." Although never formally stated in the books, th ...more

Other books in the series

The Cat Who... (1 - 10 of 29 books)
  • The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (Cat Who..., #1)
  • The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern (Cat Who..., #2)
  • The Cat Who Turned On and Off (Cat Who..., #3)
  • The Cat Who Saw Red (Cat Who... #4)
  • The Cat Who Played Post Office (Cat Who..., #6)
  • The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare (Cat Who..., #7)
  • The Cat Who Sniffed Glue (Cat Who... #8)
  • The Cat Who Went Underground (Cat Who... #9)
  • The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts (Cat Who... #10)
  • The Cat Who Lived High (Cat Who... #11)

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“Qwilleran’s Siamese cat was a celebrity at the Press Club. Koko’s portrait hung in the lobby along with Pulitzer Prize winners, and he was probably the only cat in the history of journalism who had his own press card signed by the chief of police. Although Qwilleran’s suspicious nature and inquisitive mind had brought a few criminals to justice, it was commonly understood at the Press Club that the brains behind his success belonged to a feline of outstanding intelligence and sensory perception. Koko always seemed to sniff or scratch in the right place at the right time.” 1 likes
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