Mystery Series Reviews | The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

Lilian Jackson Braun, #1

Just as writers have their style, readers have their preferences. Some readers like to read fiction, some non-fiction. Some enjoy romance novels, others prefer murder mysteries. Just as both fiction and nonfiction abound in variety, so is the variety of readers.

Several authors have written series that combine murder, mystery, intrigue, some humor, and a little romance, which allows readers to witness the evolving events and personalities of the characters. Add to that mix a good dose of history, and the plot thickens.

One of my favorite authors is Lilian Jackson Braun, who has written more than three dozen whimsical mysteries about a newspaper journalist and two Seal Point Siamese cats he adopted – KoKo and Yum Yum. In the first book of this series, The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Ms. Braun begins the journey of James McKenzie Qwilleran, who writes a newspaper column focusing on special events in the city of Chicago. Jim, also known as “Qwill,” was a very successful crime reporter before he fell into difficult times. As he regains his feet and begins a new position, he is given assignments not of crime but what he deems to be “fluff.” His first assignment is to do a human-interest story about artists, particularly an artist named Cal Halapay. Little does he know that as he delves into interviews and journalistic footwork for this assignment, murder and crime can drop into and from anywhere. And, little does he know that two very precocious cats will become his trusty sidekicks who serve him well as he unearths clues to solving the crimes.

Start your adventure with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards and follow Qwill, KoKo, and later Yum Yum through big city crimes in Chicago to crimes of a small town “400 miles north of everywhere.”

Next up:  Anne Perry’s novel featuring William Monk in The Face of a Stranger.

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.