Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Cat Who Sniffed Glue

1988, 1989 Jove Books edition
Lilian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who Sniffed Glue
Probably bought newish for $4.99
Very worn paperback

I can't remember when this is supposed to be set, but Qwill is "about fifty" and the weather is nice enough to walk around in.  It must be fairly soon after Knew Shakespeare, since Arch Riker starts publishing The Moose County Something.  (They hold a contest for a new name, and the placeholder wins.)  Arch is still charmed by grumpy Amanda Goodwinter, and they become engaged.  Meanwhile, Qwill is seeing Polly Duncan (they were snowbound at her place in the last book), and even bought her a car for Christmas.  (So this must be at least January '86.)  She has a jealous streak, and there are a lot of women for her to be jealous of in this entry, including Cokey Wright from Danish Modern.  The cats are also jealous, Koko especially (he still resents Ms. Wright's nickname), which seems to contradict Lori Bamba's theory that cats go for humans of the opposite sex.  (Is Koko gay?  Or misogynist?  What is Braun saying?)

The mystery involves the Fitch twins (who appeared briefly in earlier books) and, yes, glue, although the drug angle is a red herring.  The novel has acts and scenes, including an intermission, but is otherwise not in play format.  The Fitches are going to be in a play with Qwill, and the director is decorator Fran Brodie, another of Polly's rivals, as well as daughter of the sounding-board chief of police.

Although Braun is still at the top of her form (again, the mystery might be obvious in retrospect but is handled well enough), I can see the first signs of rot, due to Qwill being "one of the most eligible bachelors in town."  When Qwill visited the library in the previous book, "four friendly young clerks rushed to [his] assistance.  Young women were always attracted to the man with a luxuriant moustache and mournful eyes....Furthermore, he was the richest man in town."  Too much time is spent on Qwill's attractiveness, due to his wealth or not, and although Braun is keeping it just in bounds for the moment, it will eventually bring him to Gary Stu status.  He'll be beloved by every one in town (except for the murderers), and it'll be grating.  But for now, it's OK.

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