Lilian Jackson Braun—A Tribute

Lilian Jackson Braun passed away on June 4, 2011, leaving behind a wonderful legacy of stories and 29 books in The Cat Who…” mystery series.

Lilian died at the age of 97 and the last book in her series was The Cat with 60 Whiskers published in 2007. This meant this wonderful lady was writing into her later years and according to her husband, there was yet another book that she regretted not finishing. What a great role model for the rest of us who have things to accomplish.

As a reader of Lilian Jackson Braun, I was fond of Jim Qwilleran, with his large moustache, his baseball cap and his two Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum. In later books in the series, this unlikely trio shared a converted old apple barn in the town of Pickax in Moose County which readers learned was located 400 miles north of everywhere. And like the residents of Pickax, I looked forward to Qwilleran’s Qwill Pen column in the Moose Something newspaper.

While Qwilleran was the main character in the stories, most readers knew the true hero of the series was Kao K’o Kung (Koko). This special cat sensed in advance when something dire was about to happen. Koko was able to, not only predict the future, but lead Qwilleran to the clues that would help him solve the crime.

In addition to Koko’s help, Mr. Q. was always able to find out information and a bit of history from the locals because they liked his easy manner. He was a friend to most of the residents of this small town but he shared a special relationship with, Polly Duncan, the local librarian. Each night these two would share the day’s events in a phone conversation before retiring for the evening. At the end of the call, instead of saying goodbye they would say À bientôt.

So from those of us “down below” we say to Qwilleran, Koko, Yum Yum and of course Lilian Jackson Braun, À bientôt and thank you for a wonderful series of mysteries that have fascinated and entertained us for decades.

(If you would like to learn more about the writings of Lilian Jackson Braun, her books are available through many outlets. I find Amazon is a good source with many of her titles. You can check out her selection by clicking here:  Lilian Jackson Braun)

Millie Mack

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