Jove Books, 2002
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood
Ghost busting? James Qwilleran, the richest man in the northeast central
United States, gets a call from an innkeeper friend who believes her inn
is haunted. Well, any excuse for a change of scene, Qwill thinks, and he
will be able to find some new material for his newspaper column.
Qwill loves to move around, his pampered Siamese cats donít. But once they
all settle into the innís "penthouse," it doesnít take long for Koko and
Yum Yum to uncover the mysteriously damaged furniture of a long-ago
runaway heiress in their tower, and the body of a missing lodger in the
creek. Qwill has the healthy curiosity of a good newsman. He makes friends
with the other residents of the inn and takes part in the community life
of Black Creek, conversing all the while about antique furniture, ideas
for his column, and the forest upstream from where the body was found.
Koko also has ideas to contribute to the investigation, requiring Qwillís
interpretation. Qwill doesnít play detective in the way most mystery novel
heroes do. He doesnít make timetables or mull over theories. When one of
his new friends also goes missing, he drifts around chatting casually
while the police do their jobs.
THE CAT WHO WENT UP THE CREEK mostly consists of chats and cats.
Qwilleranís geniality and reassuring mustache attract friends everywhere,
so Lilian Jackson Braun can have a good time creating the many people he
meets. She has fondly observed cats for many years, and her warmly visual
descriptions will appeal to all cat lovers. After twenty-three books about
these characters, the formula is well established. It is Qwilleranís
acquaintances who give these books their remaining freshness Ė including,
in this case, the squirrels at the Nutcracker Inn.
In my opinion the special charm of the bestselling CAT WHO books depends
on long custom. If you have been reading them, you keep reading them. The
journalist Qwilleran who moved from one bare city rooming house to another
is more believable than the later Qwilleran who unexpectedly inherited
billions of dollars and became a philanthropist; but the seriesí gentle
humor, amusing and recognizable townspeople, and the cats who blessedly
never grow old, keep readers coming back book after book. THE CAT WHO WENT
UP THE CREEK is the paperback reissue of last yearís hardcover. Her next,
THE CAT WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE, took its place on my to-be-read list.
Jan 2003 Review Originally Published on WOR
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