The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Braun

Lilian Jackson Braun's Cat Who... series has sparked a whole new subgenre for those who like a little feline intervention in their mysteries.

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The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Braun


Features

  • Mass Market Paperback: 247 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 6.87 x 4.20
  • Publisher: Jove Pubns; Reissue edition (December 1990)
  • ISBN: 0515087122


    Reader Reviews
    Crime reporter transferred to interior decorating beat, May 26, 2003 Reviewer: M. L. Worley from Kingdom of the Mouse, United States When I first read this mystery, it was the second of a 3-volume series, the last of which had appeared in 1968. Only with the 4th book, _The Cat Who Saw Red_ (1986), did the series take off into its at-least-1-book-a-year mode, and only with the 5th, _TCW Played Brahms_, did Braun introduce Qwill to Moose County. _TCW Ate Danish Modern_ was the first Qwilleran book I ever read, and although it's best to begin with book 1, _TCW Could Read Backwards_, I can testify that you won't be lost if you pick this up first instead, nor will you spoil the solution of the previous book. Qwill is the type who'd probably think of himself as a dog person if he weren't a city dweller, but after the death of his landlord, he acquired custody of his landlord's closest companion: Kao K'o Kung, a Siamese familiarly known as Koko. (The original hardcover dustjacket was graced with a photograph of his namesake: the author's feline companion.) The other consequences of his landlord's death led to one of Qwill's 4 problems at the opening of the story: 1) he has to find a new place to live, 2) he wants to be in the Daily Fluxion's city room rather than on the art beat, 3) no current girlfriend, and 4) moths are eating up all his ties - so he runs the risk of being homeless, jobless, womanless, and tieless all at once. (Hey, I didn't say this was Shakespearean tragedy.) Before Qwill can request a transfer from the managing editor, he's informed that a change of assignment is already lined up: the Fluxion is trying to divert advertising revenue from magazines to their own coffers, and so a new Sunday supplement is coming online, and Qwill will be in charge of its features. The catch? The home furnishing industry is making the advertising experiment - so the Sunday magazine, Gracious Abodes, covers the interior decorating beat. Qwill's horrified reaction is softened since the transfer includes a promotion and raise. Odd Bunsen, the Flux's daredevil photographer, is slower to overcome his resentment at his own transfer. Up through book 4, this was the standard opening move in a Qwill story: transfer the poor devil from his current assignment to some weird beat as far from the City Room as a veteran crime reporter could imagine, and throw him in at the deep end. As with his previous assignment to the art beat, he finds the professional rivalries unexpectedly interesting. Consider Lyke and Starkweather, for instance - Starkweather (a rather bland middle-aged executive) handles the business end while Lyke handles clients and the actual decoration jobs. Lyke's charismatic, but the depths beneath his surface charm are somewhat murky. He butters people up left and right, then sneers at them for taking him seriously. His childhood friendship - back before he moved uptown and changed his name - with Jack Baker ended acrimoniously after Jack saved his pennies, went to the Sorbonne, then returned to town as "Jacques Boulonger", the Duxburys' decorator "from Paris". (Jack's background isn't really secret, but his society clients wouldn't like to admit that far from being an exotic novelty, he's a self-made African-American from their own city.) Jack even rubbed in his success at having taken away Lyke's old money clients by moving into the Villa Verandah, where Lyke lives, but in a nicer apartment on a higher floor. :) Lyke does well enough, though, with the new money clients out in Lost Lake Hills. By chance, Qwill starts with Lyke when seeking a big society name for the cover of Gracious Abodes' first issue, and thus draws the Taits. At first Mrs. Tait's sharp tongue seems the worst feature of the household, and Tait's obsession with his jade collection the oddest. Then the morning after the first issue of Gracious Abodes hits the street, Tait's jade collection is stolen, his wife is dead of a heart attack, and the police - and the Fluxion's competitor, the Morning Rampage - are asking why the Flux seems to be printing blueprints for burglary. (One of the elements dating the story is the Fluxion's policy of always printing names and addresses, but as you can see, its logical consequences come home to roost.) Each of the first few editions of _Gracious Abodes_ is plagued by a different catastrophe, and Qwill faces reassignment to the church editor's beat if he can't break the jinx. Are some or all of the incidents related - and if so, who's behind them? I recommend the unabridged audio read by George Guidall over the book on its own, although I enjoy that too. Scenes like Odd Bunsen's drunken pursuit of Koko across the balconies of the Villa Verandah must be heard to be appreciated fully. :) --This text refers to the Library Binding edition

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