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The Cat Who Played Brahms by Lilian Jackson Braun Review

Title: The Cat Who Played Brahms

Author: Lilian Jackson Braun

First published June 1, 1987

192 pages, Mass Market Paperback

ISBN: 9780515090505 (ISBN10: 0515090506)

Rating: 3.97


Looking for a change of pace, Jim Qwilleran, a newspaper reporter, decides to spend a few days in the countryside to re-evaluate his career. Accompanied by his feline friends, Koko and Yum Yum, he heads to a cabin owned by a family friend, hoping for some peace and quiet.

However, his plans are disrupted when strange things start happening. Mysterious footsteps and secretive townsfolk make Qwilleran uneasy, and when he stumbles upon a murder mystery while fishing, he finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the killer.

Meanwhile, Koko develops an unexpected love for classical music, adding a new level of intrigue to this thrilling tale.

About the Author

Lilian Jackson Braun, a well-known American writer, is famous for her light-hearted series of mystery novels called The Cat Who… The books revolve around the life of James Qwilleran, a former newspaper reporter, and his two Siamese cats, KoKo and Yum Yum, in the fictional small town of Pickax, located in Moose County, Michigan.

Although not explicitly stated, it is widely believed that the series is modeled after Bad Axe, Michigan, where Braun and her husband lived until the mid-1980s. The towns, counties, and lifestyles described in the series are thought to represent the culture and history of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Braun began writing as a teenager, contributing sports poetry to a newspaper. She later worked as an advertising copywriter for several of Detroit’s department stores and as the “Good Living” editor for the Detroit Free Press for 30 years until her retirement in 1978.

She published three novels, including The Cat Who Could Read Backwards and The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, to critical acclaim between 1966 and 1968. However, she disappeared from the publishing scene for 18 years due to the increasing focus on sex, violence, and foul language in mystery novels, which did not align with her light-hearted writing style.

In 1986, the Berkley Publishing Group reintroduced Braun to the public with the publication of an original paperback, The Cat Who Saw Red. Within two years, four new novels were released in paperback, and the three mysteries from the 1960s were reprinted.

Braun’s series once again became an instant bestseller. The twenty-ninth novel in the series, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, was released in hardcover by the Penguin Group in January 2007.

Braun was a private person, and not much was known about her personal life. Publishers had given inaccurate accounts of her year of birth for years, and it remained unknown until she openly acknowledged her age in a 2005 interview with the Detroit News.

Editoral Review

“The Cat Who Played Brahms” by Lilian Jackson Braun is a delightful mystery novel that will keep you engaged from start to finish. Lilian Jackson Braun was an American writer who specialized in the mystery genre, and this book was first published on June 1, 1987.

The book is part of the “Cat Who” series, which features journalist Jim Qwilleran and his two feline companions, Koko and Yum Yum, who assist him in solving mysteries in the small town of Pickax.

In “The Cat Who Played Brahms,” Jim Qwilleran is sent to cover a music festival in nearby Mooseville. While there, he becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a priceless violin and the murder of a renowned musician.

With the help of his cats, Jim must navigate the suspicious characters and tangled motives of the festival attendees to solve the case.

The setting of the book is charming and cozy, with a cast of quirky characters that add to the small-town atmosphere. The main character, Jim Qwilleran, is a likable and relatable protagonist who is easy to root for.

The cats are also endearing and play an important role in the plot, adding a unique and enjoyable twist to the story.

The writing style of Lilian Jackson Braun is simple and straightforward, making for an easy and enjoyable read. The pacing of the book is steady, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged without feeling overwhelmed.

The themes of the book include friendship, loyalty, and the power of intuition.

One of the strengths of the book is the way in which the author incorporates the cats into the story without it feeling forced or gimmicky. The cats are integral to the plot and their presence adds a layer of depth and interest to the story.

However, one weakness of the book is the lack of character development for some of the peripheral characters. While the main characters are well fleshed-out, some of the supporting cast feel one-dimensional and underdeveloped.

Overall, “The Cat Who Played Brahms” is an enjoyable and entertaining mystery novel that is perfect for fans of the genre. The book is well-written and engaging, with likable characters and a charming setting.

While it may not be the most complex or nuanced mystery novel, it is a satisfying and enjoyable read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and is looking for a light and entertaining read. The book is suitable for all ages and would be a great choice for a lazy afternoon or a long flight.

I give “The Cat Who Played Brahms” a solid three and a half stars out of five, based on its engaging plot, charming characters, and enjoyable writing style.

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