Book Review: The Cat Who Smelled a Rat by Lilian Jackson Braun

Ms Braun is one of a set of writers who writes what I call light mysteries. This book is a part of her Cat series. I have found each and every one of these a quick and enjoyable read.

In The Cat Who Smelled a Rat, Qwill and the redoubtable Koko find clues to a series of so-called accidents happening around town. From brush fires happening around the now historic landmark designated Shafthouses (small oddly shaped building at the top of mines) to an explosion at another town landmark, a book store built out of Feldspar to the head of the local curling club (and interesting and odd sport) falling down stairs to his death, there is a lot going on in small Pickaxe.

The conclusion comes with all the verve of a darker style of crime novel but with the pleasantness of this light mysteries series. Ms Braun has given us a cast of regular characters who are rich in details and not so young that we feel like we have been dumped into a tv show.

series of books, including this one, would find a following as a tv show. With over twenty books at the time this one came out back in 2001 there is a lot of stories to go around. I would recommend this book and the rest in the series for anyone who is looking for a good and fun read for a lazy afternoon.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Cat Who Smelled a Rat by Lilian Jackson Braun

  1. It greatly saddened me when I learned that Lilian Jackson Braun died a few years ago, and her final book would most likely never be released to the public. At the same time, it’s probably for the best. When I read her last (published/released) “Cat Who” book, I was sorely disappointed. You could tell her mind was beginning to wander, as she was rewriting the history of Pickaxe, because she was misremembering things she had written down as fact in earlier books.
    Braun’s books are what got me into reading mystery series, because I was a great fan of cats when I was younger (and still am!). She also doesn’t write down to the reader, and you usually learn a lot by reading things. I learned a lot about antiques from “…Ate Danish Modern,” for example. It’s an enjoyable and light-hearted series, but the newer the books are, the more violent the murders and the deaths in them become, which is a little sad. I own the entire series and I reread them from time to time because they seem to be almost timeless in that regard, despite the fact that they were started in the 1960s.

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    1. I noticed the changes too. As a writer myself I do find you lose track of thing after a point. The books are definitely timeless in the telling. She also had to me an almost anywhere feel to them. As a native of NH before moving up to Ontario it felt like she could have been writing about people and places I had been through

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      1. Several things she’d repeated ad nauseum in several books, only to suddenly change it in one of the final ones. It seems like some things editors should have caught.

        I grew up pretty much everywhere (military upbringing), but have lived in the South for 10 years now, so it’s what I know the most of. Not quite an “anywhere” feel here in the South, but I feel like being more Northern-based, it might be different.

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      2. Yup it was very northern. I think Michigan. And sad to say editors aren’t used as much as they used to be. Unless you are\were a top their author they really expect the author to do it all now

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