James Qwilleran and his famous felines, Koko and Yum Yum, are back While the town of Pickax is swept up in its sesquicentennial celebrations, Koko has developed a strange new hobby: He drops himself from balconies, occasionally landing in the oddest of places. When a young man comes to visit his wealthy relatives, Koko plummets straight onto his head! Meanwhile, a hurricane is brewing, and the visitor's family members soon fall deathly ill. Qwill has his work cut out for him as Pickax-as foreshadowed by Koko-is about to be hit by a bombshell.
Bestseller Braun's disappointing 28th Cat Who... novel (after 2004's The Cat Who Went Bananas) mostly follows journalist Jim "Call Me Qwill" Qwilleran as he runs around Pickax City, Mich., getting things ready for the town's blow-out celebration of its sesquicentenary. Many books ago, Qwill inherited tons of money and set up a foundation to benefit Pickax. Now that story line has become a caricature, with Qwill's fund popping up and financing yet another venture virtually every chapter. The "mystery" concerns Nathan and Doris Ledfield, a wealthy couple whose only heir is an obnoxious, greedy nephew. When late in the tale the Ledfields die... well, let's just say that no one will be surprised to learn who was behind their deaths, or what his motive was. Lame plotting isn't the only problem. The characterization is not just thin, it's anorexic. Perhaps it's time to put this series, which once defined feline fiction, to sleep. Mystery Guild main selection. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 10, 2006
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Excerpt from The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun
April was lovely that year! No blizzards. No hailstorms. No torrential rains with mud slides and power outages. Gentle nighttime showers irrigated the potato fields of Moose County and freshened the peony gardens of Pickax City, the county seat.
It boded well for the sesquicentennial celebration of Pickax City, 400 miles north of everywhere. Plans were being made for parades, special events, and family reunions. Jim Qwilleran, columnist for the local newspaper who had spent the winter in a condo, was planning to move his household (two Siamese cats) back to his summer quarters in order to be closer to the action.
One evening he was lounging with his feet up, reading and eating apples, and the phone rang with that sound of urgency that sometimes happens.
The anguished voice on the line was that of Hixie Rice, the promotion director of the newspaper and chair-person of the Sesquicentennial Committee.
"Qwill! This is Hixie! Is it too late to come over for a minute "
"Too late for what "
"I've got a big problem!"
"Come along. Refreshments "
"Not this time, thanks."
Hixie Rice lived in a nearby condo, and Qwilleran had barely time to gather up bachelor clutter: newspapers, apple cores, and items of clothing.
The woman who rang the bell was looking harried.
He waved her to a sofa, and she flopped down, tossing her shoulder-length hair and kicking off her shoes.
"Do you mind I'm exhausted."
"Are you sure you won't have a glass of Squunk water, Hixie "
"You twisted my arm."
At that moment two Siamese cats walked into the conversational circle.
"Hello, you beautiful creatures!" Hixie cried. They struck poses to show off their sleek fawn-colored fur, their seal-brown points, and blue eyes. She said, "Koko has such a masterful, intelligent expression, and Yum Yum so sweet and appealing . . . Forgive me, Yum Yum, if I sound sexist." For answer, the lively female jumped into Hixie's lap as light as a feather, while the male sat tall like an Egyptian sculpture.