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The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (1966)

de Lilian Jackson Braun

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1,985536,043 (3.55)102
Former award winning news reporter Jim Qwilleran is assigned to the art world as his new news beat. When a murderer sicks a knife in the neck of a local gallery owner and goes berserk among the works on show, Qwilleran gets help from his Siamese cat solving the mystery.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 53 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Jim Qwilleran's life took a bit of an unexpected detour....divorce, alcoholism....but he's getting things back on track. He takes a job as a feature writer with a newspaper, the Daily Fluxion. Although in the past he was a prize winning reporter, he starts out a bit humbly at his new job -- writing features on local artists. His publisher wants him to smooth some ruffled feathers. The paper's art critic has published some scathing, sarcastic commentary on the work of many local artists. Jim doesn't realize how cutthroat the art world can be until a local gallery owner turns up dead. He finds himself covering his art beat, while working in some sleuthing into the darkness lurking behind the local art culture.

This book is the start to this popular series. There are 29 books in this series, plus a couple short story collections. The first three books were written in the 60's when working at a large daily newspaper meant huge rooms filled with typewriters, hanging out at the press club, etc. As a former reporter and editor, it made me smile. Jim Qwilleran is thrown into writing features on art when he knows nothing about art at all. This might seem unrealistic to some....but not to me. On my first day as a newspaper reporter when I was fresh out of college, I was thrown into covering city and county commission meetings. I had to research things like property tax and appraisals, elections and other important topics that I knew absolutely nothing about. I was thrown right into the fire on day one and had to figure it out. Totally normal.....you have to fake it til you make it. Call and ask questions, check facts multiple times, look foolish on occasion to make sure a story is on target.....reading about Jim trying to swim through his confusion about art, eccentric artists and local shows made me smile. I never had to work in a large room filled with typewriters....we had computers. But, when I first started as a journalist at a small rural daily paper, we had to print our stories, send the trimmed copy through a wax machine and layout the pages by hand. I had to take and print my own photographs in "the dungeon''....the dank and horrid darkroom on the bottom floor of an ancient building. Reading this book made me a bit nostalgic for my own "old days.'' :)

The first three books in this series were written in the 60s. Then Lilian Jackson Braun picked it up again in the late 80s....that's when I discovered this series. I got to book 8 before life interrupted and I lost track of the series. I'm going to revisit the books I read way back then.....and then read my way through the stories I missed! :) Lots of reading to do! I'm looking forward to revisiting the interesting reporter whose mustache tingles when a story is going to break and his two siamese cat companions! ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards / by Lilian Jackson Braun (1967) -- The unusual detective team of Jim Qwilleran, a newspaper reporter, and Kao K'o-Kung (Koko), an orphaned Siamese cat, come together for the first time in THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS. Qwill takes a job offer to write art columns for the newspaper -- a job he is neither qualified for or interested in. But this is a second chance to rebuild his life and he takes the job. Then events start happening to make it more like old times -- writing crime news -- as a gallery owner is murdered, a local artist falls to his death during an art exhibit, and a valuable painting goes missing. The antics of Qwill and Koko make great reading and the absence of strong language, sex, and violence make this series suitable to mature high school readers. This is one of my favorite series that I read often. Each title can stand alone, but they make more sense when read in order. My favorites in the series are THE CAT WHO SAW RED and THE CAT WHO KNEW A CARDINAL. The most memorable section is the conversation between Mountclemens and Qwilleran about humans lack of whiskers and the ability to sense things. Qwilleran admits that since he grew his oversized mustache he has been able to sense when something is going to happen or know if something is not quite right. Then Mountclemens suggests that Koko has the same ability through his whiskers.

FURTHER COMMENTS (April 2018) : Reread the title recently this time out loud to someone else. I noticed how slow the story moved while getting started and introducing all the characters. Didn't get real interesting until Koko shows up but only did the plot take off with the first murder. Koko and Qwill are two of my most favorite book characters, but I realized that if I didn't know how much I would come to love these characters, I might have stopped reading the book and never moved on to the second title, then the third, etc. I also noticed that Braun used a lot of vocabulary words that I didn't know...I almost had to reach for the dictionary...but there were so many that I stumbled over them and kept going -- words like ... impecunious...prognostication...arabesques...etc. -- There are topics in here that are just below the surface -- love affairs, eludes to lesbian character, there were a few "hells" and maybe even a "damn" but nothing more than that, there was crime and murder, but no blood and guts. An easy read...but the second one is much better. Reducing MY RATING from 5 stars to 3 stars. ( )
  pjburnswriter | Aug 16, 2020 |
Book # 1 in a cozy mystery series featuring James Qwilleran, a newspaper reporter in an unnamed Midwestern city, and an extraordinary Siamese cat, Koko.

I’m sure I’ve read this before, because it was vaguely familiar, but I did not have it on my “read” list on Goodreads, so decided to give it a go.

I love cozy mysteries, and this is a great series. Qwilleran is a good amateur detective. As a reporter he is appropriately curious and has a great excuse for gathering information. In this first outing, he’s been assigned to the features desk, writing about the local art scene. No, he’s not the art critic, he does public interest pieces on artists and events. Being somewhat new to town, he has a lot to learn and he’s finding quite a lot of intrigue in the local art scene … even before a prominent gallery owner is found murdered.

I like the way that Braun uses Koko to help Qwilleran. This is not a talking cat! (Although Siamese are known for their loud and interesting vocalizations.)

An altogether satisfying cozy mystery, and I recommend the series. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jul 31, 2020 |
This is a quite amusing book. I really enjoy seeing the start of the detective duo, Koko & Qwilleran. I can't say that it's my favorite cozy mystery, though, because parts of the style of it are a little dated. However, from what I've read, the author started this series and then took a hiatus before restarting the series. I enjoyed the later Cat Who books I read a lot, so I'm guessing that the early books will just feel a bit... older than the ones I'm familiar with.

But, don't take this as dislike for the book. I really enjoyed it. I'm giving it 4 stars, but those are a solid 4 stars. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
It was great to reread this beginning of a series that hold a dear spot in my heart.
Meeting Qwill, finding Koko, and missing Yum Yum.
The mysteries, Qwill not understanding and getting it all wrong.
A classic in my heart. ( )
  Wanda-Gambling | May 9, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Lilian Jackson Braunautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Guidall, GeorgeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lax, LidiaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Oksala, MaireTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Jim Qwilleran, whose name had confounded typesetters and proofreaders for two decades, arrived fifteen minutes early for his appointment with the managing editor of the Daily Fluxion.
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Former award winning news reporter Jim Qwilleran is assigned to the art world as his new news beat. When a murderer sicks a knife in the neck of a local gallery owner and goes berserk among the works on show, Qwilleran gets help from his Siamese cat solving the mystery.

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