The Cat Who Tailed a Thief

Lilian Jackson Braun, Author Putnam $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-14210-9
Nothing is sacred in this latest installment of the trials and tribulations of life in Moose County, ""400 miles north of everywhere,"" as locals face a green Christmas, an outbreak of petty larceny and a tacky new resident. As the holidays approach, someone has taken to stealing small articles of apparently little value--gloves, sunglasses, a bag of old clothes, an antique doll. But these seem minor distractions from larger matters, like the new banker, Willard Carmichael, and his wife, Danielle, a flashy young woman with big hair who teeters on spiked heels as she flirts with an uncooperative newspaper columnist, Qwilleran, seen last in The Cat Who Said Cheese (1996). Willard fits right in, devoting himself to restoring Pleasant Street's Victorian homes with the help of Danielle's cousin, Carter Lee James, a preservation consultant. Just after Christmas, Willard is killed in a mugging in Detroit; then a local boy is arrested for the petty thefts and an old friend becomes engaged to James, all events that raise Qwill's suspicions and inspire strange behavior in his sleuthing cats, Koko and Yum Yum. Cranky and sometimes acerbic, Qwill fights off the sentimentality of the season while investigating the world of historically correct renovations. By springtime, with the help of Koko in particular, he brings a murderer and thief to justice in an accomplished mystery that is as smooth as the season's first snowfall. Mystery Guild and Readers Digest Condensed Book selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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