Wednesday, 29 July 2009
The Cat Who Had Sixty Whiskers and not much else to recommend him
If the plots in The Cat Who… books became over time a little thin, this one is positively marginal! The Cat Who Had Sixty Whiskers is the 29th in the series, and the Wikipedia page on its author suggests that there is some doubt over the 30th, which is perhaps not surprising as she was born in 1913.
I suspect that there is in fact more than a little doubt over the next book, as I found myself seriously wondering how much of this one had been written by Braun herself. It has the air of something patched up by an amanuensis who knows the author’s style well and has some idea of her intentions, but doesn’t like to take liberties. It’s been true for a while that murder victims in this series have been minor characters, as though Ms Braun was beginning to feel serious intimations of imminent mortality and didn’t want to kill off anyone her ageing (?) readers might be attached to, but here we have barely met the victim. It’s just as well we don’t care about the young woman, because we don’t really find out what happened to her, in any coherent sense.
Until lately the series' “same-iness” has been part of its charm, but here we just have repetition. Yes, there are events which will have a huge impact on Qwilleran’s life, but they are unresolved at the end. I think this is because the intention was to tie at least some of the loose ends up in the next back (the projected title at least suggests so), but I shall be extremely surprised if it appears. The author had been turning out a book a year, and the 30th is now well overdue. And the quality of the last one does nothing to raise hopes. Even the cats seem to have lost their verve.
Frankly, unless you are a hopeless The Cat Who… addict, I wouldn’t bother.