Jim Qwilleran is enjoying his stay at the Nutcracker Inn in Black Creek. His two Siamese, Koko and Yum Yum, don't seem quite as pleased with the accommodations... though Koko does enjoy keeping a keen eye on the squirrels and other local wildlife. Then, while Koko's eagerly watching some jumping trout, he spots something else: a body, floating downstream.
In Braun's 24th Cat Who... mystery (after 2001's The Cat Who Smelled a Rat), journalist James Mackintosh "Qwill" Qwilleran ("the richest man in the northeast central United States") and his two Siamese cats, Kao K'o Kung ("Koko") and Yum Yum, find themselves in the thick of another light and lively murder investigation in rural Moose County. When Lori Bamba, the new manager with her husband of the Nutcracker Inn in Black Creek, complains that the old place is haunted and making her feel gloomy, Qwill agrees to spend several nights with his cats at the converted Victorian mansion. Koko's noise gets them moved from the turret room, where the cats like to watch squirrels, to a cabin recently vacated because its occupant was murdered. Koko stumbles on a clue to the murder, while Qwill locates the source of the inn's haunting. In the meantime, Qwill's need for material for his newspaper column prompts him to help promote many local activities: the production of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, a historical re-enactment of a lumberjack's rowdy evening, the opening of an antiques fair and mall, the launching of a book of photographs of scenic Moose County, the adoption of a boy orphaned by a suicide and another murder. As usual, the various mysteries and their ultimate solutions matter a lot less than the smalltown doings of the author's irresistible characters, both human and feline. This gentle, entertaining tale is proof once again that Braun reigns supreme as the queen of the cat cozies. (Jan. 14)Forecast: A consistent bestseller, Braun should once again climb the charts with her winning combination of cats and crime.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Cat Who Went Up the Creek by Lilian Jackson Braun
It was Skeeter Week in Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere. Armies of young enthusiastic mosquitoes rose from woodland bogs and deployed about the county, harassing tourists. Permanent residents were never bothered. And, after a while, even newcomers developed an immunity, attributed to minerals in the drinking water and in the soil that grew such flavorful potatoes. As for the summer people, they bought quantities of insect repellent and went on praising the perfect weather, the wonderful fishing, and the ravishing natural beauty of Moose County.
One morning in mid-June a columnist for the Moose County Something was working against deadline, writing his annual thousand-word salute to Skeeter Week. With tongue in cheek he reported readers' exaggerated claims: A farmer in Wildcat had trained a corps of skeeters to buzz him awake every morning in time for milking. A music teacher in Pickax City had a pet skeeter that buzzed Mendelssohn's "Spinning Song."
He was no backwoods journalist. He was James Mackintosh Qwilleran, former crime writer for major newspapers Down Below, as the locals called all states except Alaska. A freak inheritance had brought him north to Pickax, the county seat (population 3,000). It also made him the richest man in the northeast central United States. (It was a long story.)
He cut a striking figure as he went about, interviewing and making friends for the paper. He was fiftyish, tall, well built, with an enviable head of graying hair and a pepper-and-salt moustache of magnificent proportions. But there was more to the man than an instantly recognizable moustache; he had brooding eyes and a sympathetic mien and a willingness to listen that encouraged confidences. Yet, his friends, readers, and fellow citizens had come to realize that the sober aspect masked a genial personality and sense of humor. And everyone knew that he lived alone in a converted apple barn, with two Siamese cats.
Qwilleran wrote his column, "Straight from the Qwill Pen," on an old electric typewriter at the barn, closely supervised by his male cat. As he ripped the last page out of the machine, Kao K'o Kung, with an internal growl, let him know the phone was going to ring.