In the course of the last two weeks I have read two books and started on a third (see sidebar), this one for the Novel Publicity blog tour. Its the first time I’ve participated in anything like a blog tour and I’m looking forward to that process (see a future post). This much reading is fairly ordinary for me but the books are of such widely different styles and genres that even I have to confess to feeling a bit of literary whiplash. Or at least a little word shocked.

At any rate, given the limited space and the fact that I have a rule against reviewing anything I haven’t finished reading (not to say read in its entirety, some books are to bad to finish and people should be warned), I have to pick one. Eeny meeny, miny Braun.

Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who Sang for Birds is one of a large series about Jim Qwilleran (former big city journalist and accidental heir to the Klingenshoen fortune) and his two Siamese cats, Koko and YumYum. Yum Yum is, as her name might suggest, sweet, but it’s Koko who is the real star. Woven into the various mysteries are the charming and often eccentric activities and personal wars of the folk of Moose County in general, and the mountain town of Pickax in particular.

As always Braun delivers a light hearted, gentle read with an easy finish and enough mystery to keep things interesting. Qwilleran is at his charming, mustachioed best and, as usual Koko saves the day by knocking over significant books and (possibly) the use of  feline ESP. The best thing about Braun is that she manages to make a rather improbable premise sound feasible.

(Warning: Moderate spoiler alert) Even as “Qwill”, admits the unlikelihood of Koko’s “talents” he follows the clues and emerges victorious in a plot involving a bad land deal, a spelling bee/literacy fundraiser, a museum opening and a murder, all while staying firmly behind the scenes. Is it the cat, or the mustache? In the end you don’t care. The characters are beautifully drawn and the mystery engaging. High literature? Not really but a great beach read for cat lovers and writers alike.


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