Lilian jackson Braun, the American crime novelist whose mysteries featured the protagonist Jim Qwilleran(W coming after Q, and not U) along with the Siamese duo of Koko and Yum Yum published her first book in the year 1966, which was THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS. She followed it with two more books in the series, but then suddenly disappeared from the writing scene, only to be resurrected by her publisher 20 years later to restart her much loved series to much fanfare. Had she been left in the cold with just three books to her writing credit, we, who love reading crime fiction would surely have been deprived of a great crime novelist whose books were fast, funny and had not only the presence of a great protagonist and his moustache, but also had two Siamese cats as problem solvers.
THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS begins with Jim Qwilleran, a reporter, getting a job as an art beat for the newspaper Daily Fluxion. He starts his job by interviewing an artist who only paints babies, and in the process gets entangled in the art world filled artist with their egos and jealousies for fellow artists. He also gets to meet the reclusive and much hated art critic for the Fluxion, who had the nasty habit of getting on people’s bad book by writing vicious reviews about their work. No sooner had he settled into his job than a gallery owner gets murdered, and in the process Jim finds himself searching for the culprit.
The plot was the weakest point of the book, if the characters could be called the strongest. The plot was fast, and in no way could be described as boring. But, the ending didn’t justify the level of writing throughout the book. The unmasking of the culprit and the subsequent revelation of the motive did leave a slight bad taste in my mouth. But, having said that I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and plan to enjoy the other three books I have of the author in my collection.