The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (The Cat Who... Series #1)

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (The Cat Who... Series #1)

4.4 90
by Lilian Jackson Braun, Dunnington
     
 

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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 to the art beat 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 reportorial talents

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Overview

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 to the art beat 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 reportorial talents to art. But Qwilleran and his newly found partner, Koko the brilliant Siamese, are back in their element—sniffing out clues and confounding criminals intent on mayhem and murder.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of this popular series will surely relish this reissue of its 1966 debut and the reminder that former newsman Jim Qwilleran, whose two prescient Siamese are the heart and soul of the stories, starts out with no cats and, in fact, is reluctant at first to become a sitter for the talented Koko. The series' other feline star, Yum Yum, is not yet on the scene. Qwill takes a job as a feature writer at a newspaper whose controversial art reviewer, George Mountclemens, owns Koko. Renting the downstairs apartment in Mountclemens's building, Qwill is soon coerced into performing small favors, including cat-sitting. The killing of a gallery owner rocks the town. When the critic is murdered, Qwill becomes more personally involved. By the time the story winds down, Koko has managed to help save Qwill's life and point out the murderer. Braun's witty investigation of the 1960s art scene is as entertaining as her depiction of crusty Qwill's growing admiration for Koko's extraordinary talents. (June)
Library Journal
The first book in Braun's beloved "Cat Who" series is being reissued in hardcover after a wait of over 30 years.
Kirkus Reviews
A new hardcover edition (after Dutton's in 1966) of the first in a series that now totals 19 (The Cat Who Tailed a Thief, 1997, etc.). Here, Braun introduces Jim Qwilleran, a prizewinning reporter who's been on the skids but is now coming back with a job as feature writer (mostly on the art scene) for the Daily Fluxion. George Bonifield Mountclemens, the paper's credentialed art critic, writes almost invariably scathing, hurtful reviews of local shows; delivers his pieces by messenger; lives with his all-knowing cat Koko in a lushly furnished house in a moldering neighborhood, and has a raft of enemies all over town. He offers the newcomer a tiny apartment in his building at a nominal rent, and Qwilleran grabs it, surmising the deal will involve lots of cat-sitting. Meanwhile, a gallery whose artists get happier treatment from Mountclemens is owned by Earl Lambreth. The acerbic critic has praised paintings there by a reclusive Italian named Scrano; the junk assemblages of Nino, who calls himself a "Thingist," as well as works by Lambreth's attractive wife Zoe. It's Zoe who, one night past closing, finds her husband stabbed to death in the vandalized gallery. Days later, Qwilleran, guided by an insistent Koko, finds Mountclemens's knifed corpse on the patio behind his house.

It takes a while to put the meandering pieces together and to uncover an overriding motive behind the mayhem, but the best things here are Qwilleran's low-keyed charisma and the author's well- aimed, often funny barbs at the pretensions of the contemporary art world—as on-target today as they were some 30 years ago.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780515090178
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1986
Series:
Cat Who... Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
169,086
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.68(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

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