Jim Qwilleran and his cats Koko and Yum Yum are three of my all time favorite book characters. This book is the 8th in “The Cat Who” series.
First some background: Jim Qwilleran is a newspaper reporter with a hobby of unraveling mysteries. Koko and Yum Yum are his two Siamese cats, both of whom came to him during the course of solving a mystery. The cats have a tendency to uncover clues. Qwilleran in a previous book inherited a fortune on the condition that he live in the town of Pickax, an upper Midwest mining town, for five years.
In this book Qwilleran has joined the local community theatre group which is preparing a production to be performed in the new theatre space at the Klingenschoen mansion. Koko meanwhile has developed an interest in glue, specifically licking the glue off of envelopes and stamps. He has also developed a bad habit of tilting a painting of a ship which hangs over the sofa.
One night a couple of the actors fail to show up for rehearsal and then the community finds out that Harley Fitch and his wife were shot in their home. The Fitch family has deep roots in Pickax and the father runs the local bank. Harley and his twin brother David are being groomed to take over when their dad retires. The police suspect a group of teenagers from nearby Chipmunk. Harley and David’s mother is so upset she has a stroke and dies in the hospital. Their father then goes out and commits suicide rather than live without his wife. Finally, the group of teenagers from Chipmunk are killed in a car-train accident. The community assumes this is the end of the story but Qwilleran thinks there is more to it and Koko is still tilting that painting. And so, the snooping begins!
If you are looking for an action-packed thriller than this is not the book for you. But if you like a mystery with well developed characters and a little quirkiness, and especially if you like cats than I think you will really enjoy this book and the others in this series. Happy reading!
“And there was another mystifying detail: Koko had been excessively attentive to Harley at the birthday party … less than twenty-four hours before the murder—almost as if he knew something was going to happen.” — The Cat Who Sniffed Glue