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The Cat Who Sang for the Birds Hardcover – February 2, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Cat Who...
  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam; 1st edition (February 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399143335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399143335
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-Braun continues the adventures of the odd, but successful, sleuthing team of Jim Quilleran and his cats. When Koko begins knocking books off the library shelf, Jim knows that his feline is once again using his unusual talents to prophesy future events of the murderous kind. Taking hints from the cat, and clues from the murder of his elderly neighbor and the disappearance of a young artist, the man sorts out the motive for and perpetrator behind the mayhem. By providing background on the various characters and their relationships and mentioning previous events, the author makes sure that even first timers to the series can enjoy this title. The strongly defined personalities of the main characters lend interest and the plot has realistic complexities that assure a steady turning of pages. Braun's use of details and discussions about everyday events enhances the feeling of community interconnections and concerns. Koko's quirky predictions and other cat-ly antics add spice to an already enticing mystery. A light, entertaining whodunit that offers the added appeal of cats and their often mysterious ways.
Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

More dire doings in Pickax (``400 miles north of everywhere''), where bachelor zillionaire Jim Qwilleran keeps a paternalistic eye on the town from his opulent barn house and his columnist job on Moose County Something, the local paper. Pickax has been saddened by the death of 93-year-old recluse Maude Coggin in a supposedly accidental fire in her decrepit house soon after she'd sold her hundred-acre farm, at a giveaway price, to buyers called Northern Land Improvement. Qwill's suspicions of this deal, reinforced by prescient cats Koko and Yum Yum, lead to his finding the company nonexistent. Some big-time chicanery is afoot, not to mention other odd happenings: a break-in and theft at the recently opened art center; an old scandal new to Qwill; the misgivings of boutique owner Elizabeth Hart about her boyfriend Derek's being offered a job as manager of Chet's Barbecuea downscale bar owned by town councilman Chet Ramsbottom. And then there's young butterfly-breeder Phoebe Sloan, whose unsavory boyfriend Jake is bartender at Chet's. When the town's major annual event takes placeit's a spelling beePhoebe is missing from her team. With help from Qwill and, of course, Koko and Yum Yum, the discovery of her body in Bloody Creek brings about the downfall of Pickax's corrupting elements. Braun's terminally arch mixture (The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, 1997, etc.) is even more extreme than before as confusion reigns, characters proliferate, and Qwill, with his second-sighted assistants, once more solves Pickax's problems. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Lilian Jackson Braun is the author of twenty-nine bestselling Cat Who . . . novels and three short story collections.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I just purchased 2 of Braun's books, this one and "The Cat Who Saw Stars." I inadvertently read them out of order. This book, the predecesor to Stars, was by far the best work that Braun has released in recent years. Second only to Backwards (for the older books ) and Cheese (for the newer ones). Her work is always superlative and Qwill and their Royal Catlinesses are wonderful. If you like the "Cat Who" series, buy this one. I'll even recommend the Stars, simply because Braun wrote it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on September 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Once again we tune in on the denizens of Moose County and find all in an uproar. In fact there are several uproars going on in this cozy neighborhood located 400 miles north of everywhere. First there is the new art center which most people love but the director somehow expects the farmers in the vicinity to keep their dirt off of the roads. When it rains you see, that dirt becomes mud and eventually gets tracked into the art center. Worse yet, the library has gotten rid of their card catalog and replaced it with a computer. This little innovation even sparks a demonstration complete with a grill for burning protestor's library cards.

Amid all of the normal Pickax City hubbub resides the ever-affable Jim Qwilleran and his mystery solving cats Koko and Yum Yum. In this entry in the series Koko has taken to singing like a bird and communing with his bird friends as often as he can. He has also been on the case again after a suspicious fire claims the life of one of Pickax's oldest citizens. The authorities rule that the fire started with a kerosene heater but Qwill doesn't buy it and neither does Koko. Yum Yum for her part is happy playing with her new yo-yo.

Eventually of course everything works out and as in previous books Qwill looks back to see just how precise Koko's clues were. For those new to the series Koko, although talented can't talk but he tries to tell Qwill what has happened in some odd ways. Usually however Qwill doesn't figure out Koko's clues until he has solved the mystery on his own. The best thing about this series besides the wonderful cast of characters is that the reader gets the same clues as does Qwilleran and if one pays very close attention Koko will tell you who done it long before the solution is revealed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on April 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Spring has sprung in Moose County, and that means that the beauty of nature is quickly unfolding. From butterflies emerging from their cocoons, to baby birds hatching and chirping left and right; even romance blooming in the sunny days. But not everything is peaceful and quiet within Moose County. Underneath the beautiful façade are secrets, local vandalism, cruelty, and many other strange events. Strange events that Qwill just can't stop himself from poking his nose into.

Even though he came from Down Under, Jim Qwilleran has found that residing in Moose County - 400 miles from everywhere - couldn't be more pleasant. He has good friends, keeps good company with his prized felines Koko and Yum Yum, enjoys the perks of being a reporter for the Moose County Something, and spends his days sniffing out stories. When some unexpected, and out-of-the-ordinary acts of vandalism occur within little Moose County, the residents are sent into a tizzy, trying to figure out who would commit such a disgraceful crime. Qwill, however, is one of the only people interested enough to do a little investigating to finger the criminal. But as he continues digging, he begins to uncover some very unexpected things, such as strange events involving some of the local political candidates. To Qwill, vandalism is one thing, but when a murder takes place, he knows that he'll have to enlist the help of both Koko and Yum Yum to assist him in catching the culprit. Qwill would prefer simply spending time with a remarkable local artist known as Butterfly Girl, and savoring the opening of the new Art Center. But he'll have to solve the crime before his mind can finally rest, and he can enjoy the new beauty springing up all over Moose County.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Stephens VINE VOICE on August 24, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was such a good book! The funeral scene brought tears to my eyes. Qwill spends a lot of time at the new art center. He befriends a young artist who paint butterflies. She is in a state of flux and wants to move in with her boyfriend.

The lady who lives across the road from the art center is Maude Coggin. She is an interesting lady who is ninety three. Qwill interviews her and discovers that she takes in stray dogs.

Koko wakes Qwill up one night to find that Mrs. Coggin's house is on fire. More mysteries abound and Koko knows what is going on and tries to communicate with Qwill.

This was a great book and I enjoyed it very much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harold L. Laroff on February 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I generally enjoy Lillian Jackson Braun's "Cat Who," books. I have read them all and was a subscriber and contributor to now defunct newsletter that promoted the books. I eagerly waited the 20th book, "The Cat Who Sang to the Birds." I was disappointed. The story line, as in the other 19 books, continues the relationships of the recurring characters. (That's why it's important to read the books, including the collecting of short stories, in sequence.) The latest entry finds a very early Spring in Moose County. Qwillearan interview with an elderly woman who dies in suspicious fire, sketches stolen from the newly opened art museum and a the disappearance of a young artist should make for an exciting novel. It falls short. The cats do play a part in the investigation but their role is not as involved as in the past books. Fans of LJB probably will want to read this book. Those who have never read her books might be turned off from searching out the older ones. For me, there is always next year and the 21st "Cat Who.." book.
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