Qwilleran and his crime-solving Siamese cats KoKo and Yum Yum are back on the case in Pickax, the biggest little city in Moose County, which is 400 miles north of everywhere but still boasts a remarkably sophisticated social and cultural scene. Hardly a day or a night goes by without a tea, dinner party, crafts fair, play, or pageant, all of which are attended and described in great detail by Qwilleran, a former crime reporter whose not very onerous duties entail writing a feature column for the local newspaper as well as overseeing the civic philanthropy made possible by an inheritance from a wealthy friend of his deceased mother. Fans of this long-running and immensely popular series will delight in this 23rd installment, in which the matrons of Pickax are buying French perfume and blueing their hair for the annual visit of Mr. Delacamp, a jeweler from Down Under (Chicago), whose arrival will coincide with the reopening of the town's fabulously refurbished grand hotel. When the mysterious Mr. Delacamp is found dead in the presidential suite, and his "niece" goes missing along with the jewels and the cash, Qwilleran and his curious cats investigate. As usual, it takes a couple of Siamese with extraordinary powers (even for cats) and a current preoccupation with pennies, gum wrappers, and paper towels to point their owner toward the solution; Qwilleran may not be the quickest sleuth in Moose County, but with KoKo and Yum Yum on the case, he doesn't need to be. This is the coziest of cozies, a particular niche in the mystery subcategory of crime-solving felines of which Braun is the acknowledged mistress, and once again she delivers the goods. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
After 22 Cat Who mysteries (The Cat Who Saw Stars, etc.), Braun's legions of fans know precisely what to expect from this mistress of feline detective stories--a bloodless crime, much bantering between Jim Qwilleran and his friends, and mysterious crime-solving hints from his beloved Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum. Braun's 23rd novel fulfills these expectations. Journalist Qwilleran has evolved into an independently wealthy columnist and generous benefactor for almost every worthy cause in Pickax, Mich. As a leading citizen, he participates in everything from the refurbishing of the Pickax Hotel (renamed the Mackintosh Inn) to the tricounty Scottish Gathering and Highland Games. One of the renovated hotel's first guests is a jewelry buyer and seller from Chicago. Mr. Delacamp appears once every five years or so to offer exquisitely expensive jewelry (cash only, please) and to buy heirlooms (cash, again) from Pickax's wealthy ladies. This trip proves to be his last, and his murder provides the grist for Koko's deductive prowess. This Sherlock of the cat kingdom does his best, from his reading choices to his seemingly inexplicable actions with paper towels, gum wrappers and nuts, to educate the mere human he lives with. Yet again, Braun's upbeat prose and amiable characters make her novel the cat's meow of cozies. (Jan.)
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