Lillian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who book series is the mystery equivalent of cotton candy. Attempting to read the entire 20+ collection in one sitting would probably rot your teeth. And your brain. No part of these books is challenging in any way, from sentence structure to plot construction. Yet I still kind of enjoy them! Braun stuffs her books with completely ridiculous names for place and person, everybody is a cat owner, there’s nifty interior designs and interesting meals, and it has the least violence possible in a murder mystery. Qwilleran – the unlikely named journalist – is purported to be the sleuth of the series; but all mysteries seem to solve themselves around him, with the indication that a death is suspicious being provided by the fits Qwilleran’s Siamese cat, Kao K’o Kung, produces on an as needed basis. Daily, as the plot heats up. Truly, Qwilleran is a paragon of patience. If I had a cat trash my house with anywhere near the regularity Koko trashes Qwilleran’s that cat would be very well acquainted with the soggy side of a squirt bottle. Regardless of its paranormal propensities. Thanks for telling me something shady is going on, kitty, now stop smashing my flower pots.
Smelled a Rat‘s mystery revolves around abandoned mineshafts and an antique bookstore. Bonus hints are provided through an antique glove box, a bowl of wooden apples, and a glass pitcher, although I missed how the last two were involved in any non-metaphorical way. There’s a suspicious elopement and a suggestion of arson too. Braun’s is the only mystery series I’ve read where the sleuth solves the case via phone calls, moustache twitches, and dinner dates. Certainly don’t pick up one of these stories hoping for a thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page. These mysteries are pretty easy to untangle. If you’re looking for something light and silly to occupy a couple of hours, The Cat Who Smelled a Rat, or any of the rest of the series, might be just the frivolity you want.