Review: The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun

Sunday, June 8, 2014

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The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun

Release Date: 1966
Publisher: G. P. Putnam
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 216
Source: Borrowed from Library (will buy soon)
Series: The Cat Who… (#1)

Summary ( Former award winning news reporter Jim Qwilleran is assigned to the art world as his new news beat. When a murderer sticks a knife in the neck of a local gallery owner and goes berserk among the works on show, Qwilleran gets help from his Siamese cat solving the mystery.

My Review:
For as long as I can remember my mom has been reading or listening to The Cat Who… books. Braun’s death a few years ago hit my mom hard and it was like she was mourning a member of our own family, not only Braun’s death but the death of an amazing series. There won’t be any more books about Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats and that to my mom is still unfathomable even years later. I never really understood her sadness until I picked up The Cat Who Could Read Backwards the novel that launched an extremely successful and long running series of mysteries.

I couldn’t put this book down! The mark of a great mystery novel is, of course, that it should keep the reader guessing. Several times while reading I was convinced that I had figured out whom the murderer was and then a plot twist would happen and I was left to guess again. Qwilleran is a veteran reporter who knows how to look for something fishy and together with Koko, the cat that can read backwards they solve a mystery. It was the cat thing that made me concerned over how this book would work. I wasn’t sure I could read an adult mystery book about a strange cat. I wish I had never doubted. Koko is not a cat out of high fantasy but a normal cat that is extremely gifted. He doesn’t talk, he doesn’t do things other cats can’t do, and instead he just does what most people suspect their cats could do. Together these two should become iconic figures in literary history if they aren’t already.  They are just precious together, a great sleuthing team, and they make the book stand out.  It was a short, fast read, and I can’t recommend this book enough!