The Cat Who Came to Breakfast (Audio)

by

Author: Braun, Lilian Jackson

Title: The Cat Who Came to Breakfast

Genre: Cozy Mystery          

Publication Date: 1994

Number of Pages: 272

Audio book: 7 hours, unabridged

Narrator: George Guidall

Geographical Setting: Fictional town of Pickax, in Moose County, (“400 miles north of everywhere”); Breakfast Island, an island near Pickax

Time Period: 1990s

Series: “The Cat Who . . .” series, book 17

Plot Summary: Middle-aged Jim “Qwill” Qwilleran is an independently wealthy, “happily unmarried” newspaper columnist in small-town Pickax. Koko and Yum Yum are his two Siamese cats, the former to whom Qwilleran attributes psychic powers and crime-solving ability. In this 17th installment of Braun’s cozy mystery series, they travel to nearby Breakfast Island, sometimes referred to as Pear Island in an attempt to attract tourists to its newly built resort. Gruff, acerbic Qwill has no interest in visiting the newly commercialized island until he learns of the death of a tourist by drowning and the food poisoning of 15 other tourists—all at the new hotel and all in the space of a week. Invited to investigate by his friend, who has opened a bed and breakfast there, Qwill soon finds himself situated in a hideous bed and breakfast, convinced that foul play is at work. This is a meandering, gently humorous mystery that moves at a decidedly leisurely pace, and features a gruff but likeable hero. Braun delights in the details of small town life, and gently pokes fun at the cheesy commercialization of the island. Eccentric and colorful characters abound, and scenes involving the cats are humorous and well-observed. Although reading the series in order probably enriches one’s understanding, installments do not have to be read in order. Narrator George Guidall has a different voice for each character, and most of them are wonderful—the exception being his sometimes prissy-voiced women.  

Subject Headings: bed & breakfasts; cats; cozy mystery; islands; journalists; mystery; redevelopment; small towns.

Appeal: folksy, conversational, accessible, 3rd person narration, leisurely paced, gentle, evocative, small-town, cozy, detailed setting, homespun, gently humorous, unaffected, amusing, local color, unpretentious, character-centered, likeable characters, realistic characterization, eccentric characterization, strong secondary characters

Relevant Fiction: Rita Mae Brown, “Mrs. Murphy” series. (Gently humorous mystery series set in a small-town, in which a postmistress solves mysteries with cat assistance). Mary Daheim, September Mourn: A Bed and Breakfast Mystery. (Gently humorous mystery series, bed and breakfast setting, strong frame, island setting). Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days (Colorful characters, small-town life, local gently humorous, meandering).

Relevant Nonfiction:  Vickie Myron, Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat: Who Touched the World (Small-town life, cats and their importance to humans, gentle read, humorous, likeable characters). Heather Lende, If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska. (Newspaper columnist, small-town life, eccentric characters, humorous, gentle read). Bill Kauffman, Dispatches from Muckdog Gazette: A Mostly Affectionate Account of a Small Town’s Fight to Survive. (Middle aged newspaper columnist, humorous, small-town life, the impact of “redevelopment” and “progress” on small-town life, corporate impact on small-town life).

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