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The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers: 09/08/13

cover art

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers by Lilian Jackson Braun is the last of the Cat Who series which spans twenty-eight mysteries, and one collection of short stories. This one reads like the coda on a series — a house cleaning and a tying of up loose ends.

In the other mysteries, Qwill's articles link up one way or another with a local mystery. The cats, too — especially Koko, tune into the mystery and through their antics help Qwill piece things together. Here, though, the mystery is rather subdued — really more of an after thought.

The mystery here, is the death of a young woman by a bee sting. Yes, it was well known that she was highly allergic to bee venom. Yes, she carried the medicine with her. Yes, she was known to be forgetful. And yes, her employer had worked out a way to help her remember. So how did she die? It's not the usual caliber of mystery but it's not really the point.

Instead, I see The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers more as a chance for Braun's authorial stand-in, Polly, to live her life and take chances — even if it means leaving loved ones (and beloved pets) behind. Personally, I think Polly made the right decision.

So the book isn't yet another by the formula Cat Who mystery, even though it bears the same formulaic title. It's more of a coda, or a love letter, to the characters. I think that the disconnect that I felt (and other reviewers have mentioned) is in how the book is promoted. It's sold as being another in the series (including having another mystery to solve).

Three stars

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