Monday, August 10, 2009

The Cat Who Went Into the Closet

I finished up Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who Went Into the Closet this weekend. When I looked it up I see that it is the 16th book in the series, a fact that surprised me because it just doesn't seem like I've read quite that many...maybe 10 or 11...but when I checked my database, sure enough, this is my 16th, with quite a few still left on the shelves. I often find these at the library bookstore and pick them up for just $1.00 so I always seem to have more of them to read.

The plot of this one was pretty straight forward, involving our protagonist Jim Qwilleran (Qwill) and his two siamese cats getting wrapped up with the suspicious death of his temporary landlord. He actually sets up a sting operation with another lady in a neighboring town to catch the bad guys and it is fun to see it all unfold. But it is not really the plot or the mystery itself that make these books fun for me. It is the nature of the protagonist's situation. In about book number 4, Qwill learns he has inherited the enormous Klingenschoen fortune as long as he agrees to live in the small town of Pickaxe in Moose County (up north somewhere, probably northern Michigan). He quickly decides being a billionaire is a nuisance so he sets up the Klingenschoen foundation which aids worthy causes in and around Moose county.

What a great life! Having no financial worries, and at age 50 or so, he can live the way he wants and do the things he wants, which for him is being a columnist for the county paper (he used to be a reporter for several newspapers down south). He spends a lot of his time meeting and interacting with the locals (population ~ 3000) and I just love the interplay he has with the small town people. And to be able to help people out of tough binds would be great too. Whether he spends an evening reading aloud to his cats or drives into town to eat at one of the local diners with a friend, it just seems like a cool life to lead. I guess that is why I look forward to reading a "cozy mystery" like this occasionally, and especially to counteract all of the real world stresses that we all encounter from time to time.

I also completed two interconnected short stories in Stephen King's Skeleton Crew collection. "Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1)" concerns a milkman who leaves suprises in the milk when he makes his deliveries, such as poisonous spiders, poison, etc. In "Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2)" the plot centers around two laundry workers who are driving around after their shift looking for an auto inspection station. It becomes apparant that one of the two men was involved in an unsolved murder and it actually ties in with the milkman guy from the first story. This seemed to me like an unfinished story and, indeed, when I reserached it I discovered they were both part of an unfinished novel.

Next up: Blood Safari by Deon Meyer.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire