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

( 89 )

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: 156,072
  • 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
( 89 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(61)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    2 out of 2 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Will it get better?

    I will try a few of her later books because I can't beleive that anyone who writes this poorly survived to write so many more.

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

    Posted June 17, 2014

    Wolfaun

    Hey guys!!!!! If anyone cares i lost my nook and now am back for good!

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

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Goldensmoke

    "Okay."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

    Dreamlily

    {Okay, main camp is now in the third result. It's a like "The Cat with 60 Whiskers." I'll see ya there!} ~Dreamlily :)

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

    Posted June 16, 2014

    SmokeRise ~| Song Time |~

    Okay this song is on one of my favourite animes...so eventually it made its way into my favourite songs list..... Shiver by ?? The song is one black butler feel free to look it up ^_^
    <p> (( Orginial Language ~|~
    <br> Tatoe owaru koto no nai kanashimi ga natte ubattemo, hanarete yuku kokoro nado koko ni wa nai to itte. Kage wo dasane kimi to ikiteru asu ga donna katachi demo. Uke de kattenu wo mou shinjiru koto wo wasureteku naka dakara, me wo soretsukusemo aimai na kaitou mo waraenu uso mo. Tonari ni inaku amai mi sae nininde yuku, tatoe owaru koto no nai kanashimi ga natte ubattemo. Wasurenaide sayounara ga uso to omoeta hibi wo..... tatoe owaru koto no nai kanashimi ga natte ubattemo.....hanarete yuku komoro nado koko ni wa nai to itte...
    <p> (( English ~|~
    <br> Even if a never ending sadness steals you away, hearts can never be separated here. You can't leave the shadows, but I dont care what tomorrow brings as i live with you. I've forgotten that I cant win by just defending, even if i averg my gaze, there are only vague answers and lame jokes. Since youre not here, even your sweet visage is fading away, even if a neverending sadness steals you away. Dont forget those days when we could feel like 'goodbye' was a lie. Even if a neverending sadness steals you away. Hearts can never be separated here.

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

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Wishbreeze

    ((OH NO. Dx I forgot to tell my dad happy father's day... And i wanted to draw him a picture... da<^> mn it. Another parent holiday I screwed up. ;-;)~Wish

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Whitetail

    Whitetail pads in with a Robin and leaves it at the fresh kill pile. She goes to lay a good distance from anyone else and grooms her fur.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Shellpool

    "Hi Dreamlily! You're back!" (EVERYONE COMETSTORM GOT LOCKED OUT! VELVET OR GOLDY, can we please move camp?)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Icefire & Stormyeye

    Icefire looked for Lilywolf. Stormyeye looked for Larkfrost.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Icynight

    Sniffs the air, frowning slightly as roses scent went away. She starts to pad after her, nervously following her scent, afraid to get lost, a this was her first blind trip out of camp.

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

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Nightfang

    Nightfang padded in cheerfully.

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

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Flightpaw ~ Gift

    As you know, I am leaving tomorrow night. Goodbye and here is a gift. <p> [intro] The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a pawprint to be seen. A clan of icelation, and it looks like, I'm the leader. The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside, couldn't keep it in; StarClan knows I tried. Don't let them in don't let them see, be the good shecat you always have to be conceal don't feel don't let them know well know they know!!!! Let it go Let it go, Can't hold it back anymore; Let it go, Let it go Turn away and wave my tail, I don't care what they are going to say, let the storm rage on. The cold never botherd me anyway. [Music] It's funny how some distence, makes everything seem small and the fear that once controled me can't get to me at all. Its tine to see what I can do to test the limits and break through no right no wrong no rules for me; I am free! LET IT GO!!! LET IT GO!!! I am one with the wind and sky-y. Let it go, Let it go, they will never see me cry; here I stand and here i stay let the storm rage on.... [ music] My power flurries through the air into the ground my soul is spiraling in frozen fractels all around! And one thought crystilizes like an icy blast; I am never going back; the past is in the past!!!! LET IT GO!!! LET IT GO!!! AND ILL RISE LIKE THE BREAK OF DAWN-AHAN!!! LET IT GO!!! LET IT GO!!! THAT PERFECT SHECAT IS GONE! HERE I STAY IN THE LIGHT OF DAY!!!! LET THE STORM RAGE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cold never bothored me any way. Bing! <p> hope yall liked it I will be back june 29th and will be less active! Bye!

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

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Navysky

    Navysky explored the camp, his eyes wide with wonder. "Hm," the warrior murmured, sniffing at a honey-suckle bush. "I remember these from my rogue days... They were good."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Velvetstar to Everyone

    (I realize my post some people might not see because the books are all messed up, but camp has moved to House On The Prairie results! See you there!) -Velvetstar-

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

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Larkfrost To All

    The tabby she-cay closed her sky blue eyes, slowly drifting to sleep. Her tail twitched slightly as she was taken by dreams. ~Lark
    <p>
    [Hey guys! Just a fore-warn, I will not be on tomorrow night. I have a field trip to the beach [Sandy Hook], and End-Of-The-Year Dance, and a serious game of ManHunt at .y friends house to top it off! I'm sure you can tell, my scheduele is tightly packed. I will be back on Saturday!]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Flowernose ooc

    Ok, so first of all I just posted my updated bio. Secondly, sorry for the late notice, but I'm going on another vaca and I'm leaving for the airport tonight. The actual plane technically departs at midnight, morning of Friday the 13th, so if you never hear hear from me again, you'll know what happened lol ;) jk. So yea I'll be back in about 10 days. (Regionals soccer tourney, wish me luck!)

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

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Rose &hearts

    Her breathing had finally returned to normal for the most part and she was not shivering as bad, though she was still a bit cold. Her whiskers twitched once, and with that, and the rise and fall of her chest, she proved she was alive. She still hadn't awoken again yet, probably traumatized and had a concussion. ~Rose &hearts~ PS Lily, I REALLY need to talk to ya tomorrow. Peeps, I've had a long, tiresome day, so I won't be on too terrivly long. Don't forget to tell your lovely fathers Happy Father's Day! Today, for some, will be very memorable so make each day count! If I don't reply in awhile, I fell asleep o.o

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 89 Customer Reviews

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