The Cat Who Said Cheese

Lilian Jackson Braun, Author Putnam $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-399-14075-4
One of the best in the 19-title Cat Who . . . series (one of which is a short-story collection), this latest adventure finds newspaper columnist Jim Qwilleran more likable and his feline sleuthing partners, Siamese Yum Yum and Koko, more intuitive than ever. The small town of Pickax City is about to celebrate the Great Food Expo when a stranger moves into the community's dismal, but only, hotel. Both events engage even the reticent Qwill, as townsfolk get ready for restaurant openings and a pastry bake-off while trying to find out more about the mysterious woman. Qwill gets the jump on everyone when he runs into the woman at his summer cabin, but before he can learn much about her, a bomb explodes in her hotel room while she is out and kills one of the staff. When the woman then vanishes, Qwill suspects she is a fugitive fearing for her life. While the police investigate, attention is redirected toward the Food Expo, in which Qwill participates as both food judge and bachelor auction prize. But the hotel bombing and the mysterious woman are never far from his thoughts, nor from the inspired cogitations of Koko, who neatly untangles a web of eccentric characters and mistaken identities. Mystery Guild and Readers Digest Condensed Book selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
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