Hello, dear readers! Hope your week is going well. I was away this past weekend and couldn't complete my three part series about my favorite authors until today. I want you to know this was a really tough choice. As I said before, I have so many favorite books and authors that I dearly love...these posts could really go on and on! But, I'm sticking to my promise of a three part series and so today, I am sharing my love for the "Cat Who" series by Lilian Jackson Braun!
As I have shared previously on this blog, I love cats. So you know I just have to love a series that combines mysteries with two smart Siamese named Koko and Yum Yum! They help their owner Jim Qwilleran solve untold numbers of mysteries in the town of Pickax located in Moose County. We never learn the actual location of Moose County. The author simply says it is, "400 miles north of everywhere." Over the course of the series, which contains around 30 books, we find that Qwill is a recovering alcoholic who used to write for newspapers "down below" before coming to Moose County because of having inherited millions. He is required to stay in Moose County for at least five years in order to claim the inheritance and ends up staying there. He writes a weekly column for the local newspaper called "The Qwill Pen" using his knack for being able to write 1,000 words on just about any subject. Along the way, memorable characters add to the story lines. There is Arch Riker, the editor of The Moose County Something, who used to work with Qwill down below before divorcing and moving to Moose County. Arch marries Mildred, a former teacher and excellent cook who contributes food articles to the paper. Although Qwill has several lady friends over the course of the series, the main love of his life is Polly, the librarian, whose voice is both soothing and scintillating to Qwill. Other characters also have recurring roles in the books such as Hixie Rice, Fran Brody, Junior Goodwinter and Celia Robinson to name a few.
I have to admit that The Cat Who series holds a lot of sentimental ties for me. My mother introduced me to the series many years ago and up until her passing we shared a love of reading and discussing these books. When she was in the hospital during one of her last stays, I would read aloud to her from the latest book in the series. I always felt that she could hear me. I gave many copies to her as gifts over the years. I now own those books and love seeing the inscriptions I would write inside the covers to her. Writing a short note inside the book is a tradition in my family when we give a book as a gift.
Lilian Jackson Braun actually wrote the first book in this series in 1966 and after writing two more, took an 18 year break from the series, returning to write more in the 1980's and continuing until her death in 2011. The earlier books have Qwill living and working for newspapers "down below." The later books are his life in Moose County. Just like the Miss Read "Fairacre" books and Jan Karon's "Mitford" books, I feel that The Cat Who series are slice of life books. There is a mystery to be solved, but there is also the day to day life of characters who are interesting and lead lives that I enjoy reading about.
So, that's it for my series on my top three favorite authors. I hope that you might give these books a try if you are not familiar with them. Perhaps, like me, you will find some new "friends" to spend time with in these rich and engrossing stories! And until next time, as Cool Koko the bibliocat might do....enjoy some white grape juice and kabibbles!