Book Review – The Cat Who Smelled a Rat

  • Title: The Cat Who Smelled a Rat
  • Author: Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/25/2014

I used to read a lot of the Cat Who books, then I got bored and stopped. This one, The Cat Who Smelled a Rat has been sitting on the “to be read” shelf for at least ten years.

But returning to PickAx and meeting up with Qwilleran and company again is kinda’ like going home to a small town – a very small town, where everyone knows everyone else – for better or worse. This particular novel is set at the end of the Summer and everyone is worried about wild and forest fires. The fires seem to be occurring near ten historic mine shafts – entrances to old, abandoned mines. Some townspeople suspect fires in the mines are somehow climbing the dry shafts and causing the fires – but since the shafts themselves aren’t harmed it seems unlikely. Others in town suspect vandals or even carelessness. Before long there are three murders, all in some way linked to the fires.

This leads to former investigative reporter, James Qwilleran to investigate. Although set in PickAx City, Moose County, 400 miles North of Everywhere, the Cat Who books always feel more like an “English Cozy” mystery – as Qwilleran asks questions and pokes around before finally solving the case and having his friends in the Sheriff’s Department catch the killer.

Still, it’s a fun book.

Oh – for those who seem to confuse these with the Mrs. Murphy books (which arefrom the cat’s point of view), the Cat Who books are never from Koko the cat’s point of view. The story is from James Qwilleran’s pov, but not in first person. Qwilleran just happens to have two Siamese cats – Koko and Yum Yum. Qwill tends to interpret Koko’s behavior strangely, though in this one, even Qwill wonders if there’s anything unusual about his cat, after all.