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

( 67 )

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...

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

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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.

Prize-winning reporter Jim Qwilleran's latest assignment is to cover the art beat for the Daily Fluxion. Sounds easy enough--unless your art beat includes a stabbing in an art gallery, vandalized paintings, and a fatal fall from a scaffolding! Reissue.

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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 Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/1986
  • Series: Cat Who... Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 187,189
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.14 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lilian Jackson Braun
Lilian Jackson Braun
For nearly four decades, cat lover Lilian Jackson Braun has been turning out mysteries in her The Cat Who...series, starring multifaceted sleuth Jim Qwilleran and his two helpful cats, Koko and Yum Yum. Wryly but tamely written, Braun's books prove that quaintness and crime need not be mutually exclusive.

Biography

The history of Lilian Jackson Braun is perhaps as exciting and mysterious as her novels. Between 1966 and 1968, she published three novels to critical acclaim: The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern and The Cat Who Turned On and Off. In 1966, The New York Times labeled Braun, "the new detective of the year." Then, for reasons unknown, the rising mystery author disappeared from the publishing scene.

It wasn't until 1986 that the Berkley Publishing Group reintroduced Braun to the public with the publication of an original paperback, The Cat Who Saw Red. Within two years, Berkeley released four new novels in paperback and reprinted the three mysteries from the sixties. G.P. Putnam's Sons has since published seventeen Cat Who... novels, among them The Cat Who Went Up The Creek, The Cat Who Smelled a Rat, The Cat Who Robbed The Bank, The Cat Who Saw Stars, The Cat Who Tailed a Thief, The Cat Who Blew the Whistle, The Cat Who Said Cheese, The Cat Who Came to Breakfast, The Cat Who Went Into The Closet, The Cat Who Wasn't There, The Cat Who Moved The Mountain, The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, The Cat Who Lived High, The Cat who Talked to Ghosts, The Cat Who Went Underground, The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, The Cat Who Saw Stars, and The Cat Who Sang For the Birds.

Even though Braun claims that her cats have never done anything extraordinary, her fictional cats, Koko and Yum Yum, solve crimes and delight fans in book after book. Braun says the reason for her success is that "people are simply tired of all the blood. I write what is called the classic mystery." She says that while "not all mystery fans like cats, all cat-fanciers seem to like mysteries. That makes for a large audience, since 26% of all American households own 53.9 million cats between them."

Braun was the "Good Living" editor of The Detroit Free Press for 29 years.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Hometown:
      North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1915
    2. Place of Birth:
      Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      June 4, 2011
    2. Place of Death:
      South Carolina

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    Extraordinary written illustration of characters and places!

    I am about halfway through this series. Starting here is the best path. I have found most of the time it is unpredictable and all of the time it is clever. The written illustration of the characters and their surroundings take you away to people and places who are so familiar you would swear you have met them. I must admit I do not look at my two feline friends in the same light since starting this series of books. If I was to reduce a star it would only be because they end too soon. Each could be a novel verse a quick read paperback. Enjoy.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Good book!!!!!

    This is a really good book! I thought the beging was a little boring but when he met Koko i really started to like it! I would recomend thie book to anybody who likes murder mysterys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I LOVE this series!

    I am in love with the "Cat Who...series"! If you like a nice mystery, check out these books. Everyone i know who has read even one book out of the series, gets addicted. The characters are wonderful, you fall in love with them instantly.
    One character named Koko (the male cat) always seems to stumble upon clues to the mystery..or does he? Is it just coincidence? This is something that Jim Qwilleran (owner of the cats/reporter) wonders himself. Lovely little Yum Yum (the female cat) is always ready to keep a lap warm or clean an ear for Koko that cant be reached. From time to time she doesn't mind following Koko in his search for clues..or are they just wandering around looking for trouble like most cats?
    Don't miss out on a great read. Check out this series! I suggest reading them in order.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Quite entertaining! I thouroughly enjoyed this book. I think Kok

    Quite entertaining! I thouroughly enjoyed this book. I think Koko is hilarious. The rest of the series is great too but they get a little old after abound the tenth book. I'd suggest taking a break between each book to read something else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Cats

    This book is very good if you love catzs you will lpve this book.

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  • Posted March 9, 2013

    Found a new mystery series to read

    This might be an older book but I really enjoyed it. It was a fast read & I enjoyed all the characters especially the Siamese that can read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Hooked

    Ok so my aunt got me hooked on these books and i absolutle l o v e love them

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Really like this series

    I enjoy this series. I like the interplay with the dog, and the writing is inventive without being too violent or suggestive.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Omg!!!!

    I absolutely love this book! I have read others (not in order) and im currently working on the cat who saw stars. Im trying to get my teacher hooked on this series also.
    I have two cats at home named Chicken and Sammie, they talk to me by a simple "yow" just like Koko. Sadly thy are not as cool as Koko and Yum Yum. I hope soon to get a pair of Siamese and name them Jim and Polly :)
    To those who have never read these book....they are a must read :D

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    a fun read!

    I'm enjoying my nook and discovering all these cute cat related books that I've never knew existed. I'm up to the 5th in the series and will most likely purchase all of them eventually. TY, B/N for this great ereader. Love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    ;)

    Loved it :)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    liked it

    love mysteries and this one was a good read...light reading

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    M$M

    I loved all of the cat who series

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Cat Who Could Read Backwards

    Great read! Qwilleran and his cats are fun and interesting. Good mysteries and light reading. Braun could really tell a story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Cute book but short

    These books are short a little over 150 pages so i think they should be cheaper but was a cute book for a cat or mystery lover will be reading next books in the series but in store because i can read that in a hour

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    I love these books!!!!

    I've just been introduced to these great books, and I'm hooked. I've been reading lots of Agatha Christie books lately,and I'm a big fan murder mysteries, and, for that matter, all mysteries. I try to solve them before I have finished, but thag never really works out. Lillian Jackson Braun is a very clever writer, and I think that it takes great skill to write mysteries. Anyone who likes a good mystery to curl up in a chair with should read these wonderful books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2008

    Review

    The Book The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Jillian Jackson Braun is a mystery novel. This book is about Qwilleran and KoKo working together to find a killer. Qwilleran is a writer for the newspaper and KoKo is a Siamese cat with a lot of brains. Qwilleran and Koko work together to find the killer of Mr. Lambreth. Qwilleran goes around to the artists of the town asking them questions and getting answers about the case. When they find out who the killer is they move on the next case. One thing I disliked about this book is that this book is about a town so there are many people to memorize. So in the beginning it was confusing, but towards the end I was able to figure out which character is which. Something that I do like is that the book makes you think. For example, you have to use the clues the book gives you to find out the killer of Mr. Lambreth is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    I Love This Series!!!!!

    I love this book,and i think anyone who reads it will too!it is the best one of the series i have read so far-i have read 3 so far...lol

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2005

    i love Koko!!

    this book was an awesome beginning to the cat who series. im only 14 and iloved it!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2004

    Koko Kool

    Koko sure won me over the very first time I met him. Appearing like any other cat with fur and whiskers, Kao K'o-Kung is really a genius on four legs. Lilian Jackson-Braun has really struck gold with Koko and his not-so-quick side-kick Jim Quilleran who are not quite what they appear to be.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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