Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal

1991, 1992 Jove Books edition
Lilian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal
Probably bought newish for $4.99
Worn paperback

Although this is flawed, I found it a generally satisfying entry.  To begin with the flaws, I found some of the information in the first couple chapters rendered redundant when Braun fleshed it out in flashbacks later on, and good editing could've avoided this.  Secondly, she's still got a chronology problem.  Qwill has been in Moose County four years, which would make it 1988.  And the story begins on Saturday, September 10th, which does in fact work for 1988, but there's a missing year somewhere, since the previous four books fall under '86.  (See timeline for Cat Who Lived High for more information.)  Thirdly, she's got two obnoxious characters, and one murders the other, so there's not much of a mystery, and the people of both Moose County and Lockmaster to the south don't seem particularly upset.  It's more of a concern to them that Iris Cobb's son Dennis is the prime suspect, and then he dies, too.  (At thirty, when he should be in his mid 20s.)

You could also quibble that this is yet another Cat Who with a Shakespeare connection, but that's fine with me.  I liked the stuff with the actors, as well as with the racing crowd, and the twists on Polly's jealousy, with Qwill showing his own jealous streak.  Braun teases the reader with the possibility of Qwill marrying Polly, but none of them seem in any hurry.  I'm certainly not invested in it, but I don't mind it. 

Best of all, this is the one where Qwill moves into the apple barn.   It wasn't too interesting, architecturally or otherwise, when he was living above his mansion's garage.  But I share the townsfolks' fascination with Dennis's renovation.  And designer Fran contributes tapestries that foil the murderer, thanks to the cats and an unlikely assistant.  Bootsy by the way, is a "yearling" and Yum Yum (introduced full grown in '83) is about five.  Sigh, chronology.

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