The Crime Fiction Series You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

TheCatWhobyLilianJacksonBraunAre you in the market for a new cozy mystery suspense series? If you’re looking for something fun and whimsical, you’ll want to check out The Cat Who mystery books. You might not have heard of these charming suspense books, but once you start reading them, you’ll want to devour all 29.

Lilian Jackson Braun was an American mystery writer and the author of the 29 Cat Who mysteries. These lighthearted suspense novels take place in a small town called Pickax in Moose County, a rural county in the northern central US. Though fictions, Pickax is generally assumed to be based on the town of Bad Axe, Michigan, where Braun lived for many years. The stories follow a former newspaper reporter, Jim Qwilleran, who lives a quiet life as an ammeter sleuth. His two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum, assist him in all his crime-solving endeavors.

Braun published the first Cat Who book, The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, in 1966, followed immediately by two more. Though the books were well received, Braun didn’t publish another until 1980s. In 1986, Berkley rereleased her three original Cat Who novels in paperback, and soon published four new ones. Her books rose to the top of the bestseller list, and she continued to publish them over the next twenty years. The final Cat Who novel, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, was published in 2007, just four years before Braun’s death.

The Cat Who novels are quirky and engaging, highlighting the everyday realities of small-town life. You don’t need to read the series in order, as Qwilleran and his two cat sidekicks are always sniffing out some new trouble. But if you’re looking for a place to start, here’s a taste of the kind of mysterious fun you’ll find in the first five Cat Who novels.