Four-hundred miles north of everywhere, in Moose County, lives
a pair of exceptional Siamese cats, Yum Yum and Koko. Known by his
many fans as "Cool Koko," the male Siamese is owned by James
Qwilleran. Koko has certain unique skills, like being able to
predict accidents and even deaths, and possesses a sixth sense
about people who are dishonest or have criminal intentions.
Qwill believes that Koko's special powers come from the fact that
he has 60 whiskers, more than a normal cat would possess. A noted
local celebrity, Qwill writes a twice-weekly column for the local
newspaper, which features interviews and information about native
citizens of interest in Moose County.
A retired newspaperman from "Down Below" (anywhere south of Moose
County), Qwill moved here when he inherited his aunt's fortune.
Renovating a huge apple barn and creating a philanthropic fund in
his aunt's name (the K Fund) to support local causes, Qwill settled
in to a comfortable life. For years he dated Polly Duncan, the
local bookshop manager and former town librarian. Together, they
frequented local clubs, organizations, events and restaurants, and
created several of their own customs. When Polly received an
invitation to go to Paris, France, with a friend, she was
subsequently offered a position there. Qwill is both confused and
concerned when Polly writes to him that she intends to stay in
For a rural community, Moose County has more than its share of
crimes and shifty characters, almost all of whom come from "Down
Below." Murder and mayhem, clues and mysterious circumstances run
rampant in any Cat Who mystery, but are more frequent in
THE CAT WHO HAD 60 WHISKERS. Lilian Jackson Braun has a delicate
sense of balance in her novels. Her characters are just interesting
enough to be memorable from book to book. Qwill is a charming mix
of hero and sometimes bully, coming to the aid of citizens in need
while establishing a presence of authority. With his magnificent
mustache, he has been known to sport a kilt for special Scottish
festivals, rides his recumbent bike through town and drink Squunk,
a locally produced spring water. Every night he sets aside time to
read aloud to his two pesky Siamese cats.
THE CAT WHO HAD 60 WHISKERS provides the reader with several
interesting but somewhat unresolved scenarios. Loyal readers will
presume, and hope, that Braun is setting the stage for future
Cat Who stories. The art work within the book is whimsical
and charming. At the beginning of each chapter is a darling drawing
of a cat face, a Koko lookalike with a heavy-whiskered upper lip.
Throughout the book, on the lefthand side of certain new
paragraphs, there are drawings of a cat paw. These serve to remind
the audience that Koko and Yum Yum are the real stars of the
series, as they provide an interesting and creative leitmotif for
the reader's enjoyment.
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on December 26, 2010