THE CAT WHO WENT UP THE CREEK
Lilian Jackson Braun



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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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