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The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (1966)

by Lilian Jackson Braun

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Cat Who... (1)

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2,284636,695 (3.56)120
Fiction. Mystery. HTML:THE FIRST COZY MYSTERY IN THE BELOVED NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING CAT WHO SERIES!

The world of modern art is a mystery to many. But for Jim Qwilleran, it turns into a mystery of another sort when his assignment for The Daily Fluxion leads down the path to murder.

A stabbing in an art gallery, vandalized paintings, a fatal fall from a scaffolding‚??this is not at all what Qwilleran expects when he turns his reporter talents to art. But Qwilleran and his newly found partner, Koko the brilliant Siamese cat, are in their element‚??sniffing out clues and confounding criminals intent on mayhem and murder.

This riveting beginning to the Cat Who series is the perfect cozy mystery for cat lovers to start sleut
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» See also 120 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Story: 7.5 / 10
Characters: 8
Setting: 7
Prose: 7 ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
Missing items
11. Lived High 1990
18. Said cheese 1996
20.Sang for the birds 1998
25. Brought down the house 2003
26. Talked turkey 2004
28. Dropped a bombshell 2006
30. Smelled smoke unpublished as author died
  JanineWallaceJ9 | Dec 30, 2023 |
I have read quite a few of Lillian Braun's cat mysteries but mostly those written after Jim Qwilleran moved to Pickaxe in Moose County. This book filled in a Bingo card and introduced me to the series as The Cat Who Could Read Backwards was the first book, published in 1966. There are two more from the 60s then a huge gap util 1986 when Braun starts the series in ernest and publishes a book almost every year.

I enjoyed the inaugural book as we are introduced to the Siamese cat Kao K'o-Kung and learn how the curmudgeonly journalist came to adopt the intelligent feline. ( )
  witchyrichy | Oct 13, 2023 |
This first book in a 29-book-long series takes a while to really get started. Qwill is new in the area and has a lot of people to meet, and so do we. The murder comes quite a ways into the book, but it's not the everything before that is pointless and boring. It's a little slower than I might have liked, yes, but since I know this is going to be a murder-mystery, I'm guessing who the victim will be up until the point that someone dies (I was wrong, by the way...and then I was right). There were some downsides, especially near the end, but overall, I enjoyed the book.

I loved the way Qwill and Koko (the cat) began their relationship, how Koko was introduced by his owner, and Koko's little visits to Qwill. Having read some of this series years ago, I knew that in every book, Koko has a new quirk, usually related to the title, that is somehow involved in the solving of the murder. This one was no different, though I felt it wasn't as involved as I remember. Maybe that's also due to it being the first book in the series, or maybe I'm over-selling it in my remembrance. Either way, it was still fun.

One downside is that one of the common elements of cozy mysteries, the way clues to the mystery are usually sprinkled into the story enough that the discerning reader could solve it before the detective, was not there in this book. I don't think there was any real way to figure out who did it before it was suddenly revealed at the end. Though this book was published in 1966, and I doubt "cozy mysteries" were really a thing...Braun probably didn't know was supposed to follow a formula. It doesn't bother me personally anyway, as I've never been all that great at solving mysteries before being given the answer anyway.

Also being written in the 60s, there's a definite vein of male chauvinism throughout the book. At first I thought it was strange, considering the female author, but the truth is, this is probably exactly what she was seeing back then.

As a stand-alone mystery, this book is lacking a bit. As the beginning to a series, it shows a lot of promise. I personally can't wait to see what Koko gets up to in the future. At this time, I would recommend this book for fans of the classic whodunit & cozy mystery genres. ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
DNF. It didn't work for me, I guess because it seemed too dated. The one thing I liked, was the author did a great job with characterizations.
  Penumbra1 | Oct 11, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lilian Jackson Braunprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lax, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oksala, MaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jim Qwilleran, whose name had confounded typesetters and proofreaders for two decades, arrived fifteen minutes early for his appointment with the managing editor of the Daily Fluxion.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Mystery. HTML:THE FIRST COZY MYSTERY IN THE BELOVED NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING CAT WHO SERIES!

The world of modern art is a mystery to many. But for Jim Qwilleran, it turns into a mystery of another sort when his assignment for The Daily Fluxion leads down the path to murder.

A stabbing in an art gallery, vandalized paintings, a fatal fall from a scaffolding‚??this is not at all what Qwilleran expects when he turns his reporter talents to art. But Qwilleran and his newly found partner, Koko the brilliant Siamese cat, are in their element‚??sniffing out clues and confounding criminals intent on mayhem and murder.

This riveting beginning to the Cat Who series is the perfect cozy mystery for cat lovers to start sleut

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