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The Cat Who Moved a Mountain by Lilian Jackson Braun

Copyright: 1992 by Lilian Jackson Braun
Genre: Mystery

The Cat Who Moved a Mountain is the 13th in Braun’s Cat Who series. This popular series was written by Lilian Jackson Braun, who in 1992, lived her summers in Caseville, Michigan and her winters in North Carolina. The books feature James Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum who lived in Pickax, the county seat of Moose County, a requirement set forth in a will that left him millions of dollars. Braun never revealed exactly where Moose County, 400 miles north of every where, actually was, but some have assumed she modeled it after Caseville. As the current episode opens, Qwill has just celebrated the completion of his five-year residency set forth in the will and has decided to take a long vacation in the mountains. He rents a house on Big Potato Mountain (which may or may not have been in Braun’s second home state of North Carolina) for the summer. The author creates a mystery, with a bit of humor, incorporating the popular and intelligent cats who seem to sniff out clues that solve the mysteries.

Qwill packed the cats up and took off for his temporary home, called Tiptop, on (you guessed it) the very top of Potato Mountain. It doesn’t take him long to discover a controversy in the nearby town of Spudsboro, that culminated in the death of J.J. Hawkinfield. Hawkinfield was the previous owner of the very home that Qwill is renting and it seems that some angry mountain dweller pushed him off the mountain to his death. J.J. and developers in the area referred to as Spuds, were at odds with the long time residents, the Tators over the development of the area. Hawkinfield was stripping forests, damming waterfalls and otherwise destroying the natural environment. The Tators, many of whose families had lived in the area for multiple generations, wanted it stopped. A young Tator has been framed for the murder and has been sentenced to life in prison.

The house turns out to be a rather unpleasant monstrosity, but Qwill quickly makes friends with a designer who makes some improvements. He also befriends the local newspaper publisher, as well as a number of other townspeople who fill him in on the controversy. His life is put in danger several times, first when he gets lost on a twisting mountain road and later when he slips on some mud and nearly falls to his death. Could his inquisitive mind be the reason for the accidents? The cats know.

If you are not a cat lover, these books may be a little much for you, but those of us who cherish the four-footed creatures love Braun’s details and descriptions of Koko and Yum Yum’s antics. The books have no swearing or explicit sex scenes. They are mysteries but the emphasis is more on the quirky personalities of the characters than the actual mysteries themselves. The Cat Who Moved Mountains was one of the better ones. Next up: The Cat Who Wasn’t There.

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