Friday, August 9, 2013

The Cat Who Went Into the Closet

1993, 1994 Jove Books edition
Lilian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who Went Into the Closet
Probably bought newish for $4.99
Worn paperback

Unlike all the "drug" titles, this title has no subtext.  Koko literally goes into (and out of) closets, digging up clues.  Euphonia Gage is murdered offpage, while Qwill is renting the house she willed to her grandson Junior.  She was first introduced in I think Knew Shakespeare, which was set in 1985.  She's 88 here.  Qwill has been in the area for about five years, and he's been through six winters.  This seems to be set the October to December right after Wasn't There, so it's still 1989.  However, Braun has Halloween, Nov. 27th, and I think Christmas Eve all falling on Saturdays, and this doesn't come close to the 1989 calendar.  In fact, the only way Halloween can be on a Saturday and Christmas Eve "on a weekend" is if it's a four-day weekend and you're counting Thursday, as happened in 1987 and 1992.  (Nov. 27th is on a Friday.)  Usually, she's not this sloppy.

Other than that, the book is up to her usual standard, although the introduction of 68-year-old Celia Robinson doesn't bode well.  (Yes, another character with the last name Robinson, right after Blume's.)  Celia is all right in herself, but the problem is she thinks Qwill is hilarious and he considers hiring her as a replacement for Mrs. Cobb.  As I recall, she was much more sycophantic in that role than Mrs. Cobb (who adored Qwill but also had her own life), but at least that doesn't impact the series yet.

In this book, I enjoyed Qwill & Hixie's road show of "The Big Burning of 1869," as well as the dog-mushing subplot, though I could've done without hearing that the female musher is appealing like a 12-year-old girl.  Qwill worries that Polly might be jealous, since she's supposed to be jealous of every woman "younger and thinner."  This doesn't explain why Qwill thinks Polly is jealous of Mildred.  Well, Mildred has a lot more personality, and I'm happy that she's not wasted on Qwill but instead finds happiness with good ol' Arch.  (Qwill is best man, his second time for Arch.)

Koko also shows signs of jealousy, this time of a cat named Oh Jay.  This paperback edition came out in March 1994, right before O.J. Simpson's ex-wife was murdered, and I wonder if Braun would've chosen another name for the strange cat if the book had been written a year or more later.

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