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March 18, 2007

Review: The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers

2007 Finishes: Books

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers by Lilian Jackson Braun
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 2.2

I hate having to give any book such a low rating. I really do. But this one was... basically incomprehensible, I guess. I started reading this series when I was twelve, and even though I don't read as many cozies in general anymore, this is one series that I always read, out of loyalty, or nostalgia, or something. Some of the earlier ones really were quite good. Unfortunately, I think Mrs. Braun is overdue for retirement. Or at least needs a serious editor. Was there even a mystery in this mystery? Sort of vaguely, I guess. But there was no coherent plot, and the characters acted very out-of-character, and the writing was disjointed. It made me sad.

Posted by Kat at March 18, 2007 05:46 PM

I was just at the library looking for a new author to read and thought about this series. Is it a series that must be read in order?

I ended up with Patricia Cornwell - have you read any of her books? The Body Farm has turned out to be a very good read.

Posted by: tina at March 18, 2007 07:55 PM

I fell in love with the series a few years ago, but like you, I've been severely disappointed with recent volumes. I finally gave up a couple of books ago.

I've never liked the idea of turning a series into a franchise by having ghost writers working under the original creator's name. But I'd rather see that happen with the Cat Who books than have them keep on the way they are.

Posted by: Crafting Jen at March 18, 2007 09:44 PM

The title sounds pretty stupid. I hate books with random titles like that. I mean you should title a novel thoughtfully like "Sound and Fury" or "Of Mice and Men"

You got me on soap box.

Posted by: Jenni at March 18, 2007 10:46 PM

Oh dear.... :(

Posted by: Chris at March 19, 2007 08:50 AM

Yes, that's been the way of it for the last several books. I haven't read this one yet, and I will, but I stopped buying them for my collection probably 4 or 5 books ago. I do reread the earlier books on a regular basis.

Posted by: Jeanne at March 20, 2007 04:13 PM

I had the exact same reaction to Agatha Christie's last couple mysteries. It IS sad when an author who has given you enjoyment in the past writes beyond her lucid capacities. Where are the editors when we need them?

Posted by: kmkat at March 23, 2007 12:29 AM

Hey there! Graduation getting close! Yay!

Did you see on the KS list this morning that someone mentioned there's a movie of I Capture the Castle? I had no idea! Have you seen it? I'm almost afraid to watch it, but I added it to Netflix.

Posted by: Courtney at March 23, 2007 09:07 AM

I understand, Kat. I really enjoyed that series at first, but its not holding me with the plot lines any more... *sigh* Remember Flowers in the Attic? (If you're any where near my age, you will - but maybe you're not! hehe) Anyhoo, same thing. Sunk after the first coupla.

Posted by: carrie at March 27, 2007 09:56 AM

Someone said they thought she has passed away (she'd be in her 90s now, I guess) and had a ghost-writer doing the work.

I read such bad reviews of this book that I didn't buy it (and I have all of the books up until this one).

Posted by: Amanda at March 30, 2007 02:19 AM

I agree with your comments above concerning the latest Cat Who book.
I don't think the crime was ever solved and I was very sad to see that a very important relationship came to an abrupt end. It was almost as if another person had picked up Lilian's Pen and ended the entire series.
I am very upset- just ask my kids and husband!
I also heard a rumor that she had died but I only found an obit with either the same name or one close that didn't seem to be her. This person was 106. I feel like someone has murdered them both. (I don't want to let the cat out for readers that haven't read the latest book.) At this rate I would expect the next book have Mr. Q back on the bottle again.


Posted by: Diane at May 25, 2007 05:45 PM

WHAT has happened to the CAT WHO AUTHOR???
this last book (the cat who had 60 whiskers) had me so upset i couldn't sleep. I'm sure someone else is writing for her , someone who doesn't love the series and characters..there are so many unanswered questions and they have Polly so totally out of character.

Posted by: janette at July 14, 2007 04:01 PM

I loved all the series & used to look forward to reading new ones, but no more. Its as if this is meant to be the last one, especially with the sad events at the end (better not say what). Put the book down feeing quite disheartened & I don't even want to read previously unread ones from earlier in the series now. This one has just spoilt it for me.

Posted by: Jennet at October 24, 2007 11:16 AM

As as devoted fan, I was rather sick about the turn of events in the series. How sad it turned out, and even worse, that Polly abandoned Qwill and her cats - I don't believe it.
What should we expect next, that Qwill dies drunk in the gutter and his fortune goes to a gambling casino? I would think that anyone who had really loved the series would wish this last "60 Whiskers" book had been not been released. It's SAD SAD SAD. I call it "THE CAT WHO MADE ME SICK". I can only think it was a need for money that let this last cat out of the bag. Surely not our beloved author. I don't think in her right mind she'd ever have wanted it this way. From her writing you can tell she had so much class and integrity she'd never had let her fans down like this. Please could we have a re-write of this book? A REAL fan could pull the book together. My kids had been wanting to start reading the series, but now - I am not recommending it, and am warning my friends to not read this "60 whiskers".

Posted by: Pat at November 7, 2007 04:41 PM

This was a very disappointing book. It ended with saying WHAT?? I too am so upset that I cannot sleep. I have loved every book so far and have shared them with my Dad. I don't know that I will pass this one on. It is such a turn off and I have 4 cat books that I just picked up and now don't know if I want to read them or sell them on EBAY.

Posted by: Teresa at November 12, 2007 01:41 AM

Wish I had read the reviews before reading "The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers" because I wouldn't have read the book. Unfortunately I did read it and it pretty much spoiled the fond feelings I have for the series.

How could Polly, a sensible and dependable woman flit off to Paris and abandon Qwilleran, her beloved cats, and the bookstore that was created specifically for her?

Why would Qwilleran not rush over to the barn as soon as he heard about the fire? He had put too much effort into its construction and furnishing to merely shrug it off.

And did he even care that Polly was staying in Paris after all their years as a devoted couple?
He seemed to waste no time lining up a replacement and thinking of the many ways in which she was more suitable than Polly.

I pondered these questions today, having read the book last night. I even found myself telling a co-worker (who has never read any of the books and doesn't like cats) about my disappointment with this installment of "The Cat Who...".

The only thing that would "make things right once again" would be....in the next book it would be explained that this was all a dream and that none of the events actually occurred. That might explain some of the odd timing and the uncharacteristic behaviour of characters we have followed through 28 previous books.

What a jarring experience!

Posted by: Jane at November 13, 2007 07:37 PM

After buying a 'The cat who' book at an airport to overcome the waiting time of a delayed flight, I got charmed by the little story (it was no. 5 of the series), I immediately bout all - previous and following editions - and have all 29's of the up to now released edition. Also the ...60 whiskers..
I totally agree - this was so totally different to all the previous books.- True, it doesn't sound like any of charming Lillian Jackson Brauns former The cat who's...
On the other hand: wasn't there time for a change?
Very nice but pretty boring Polly is tired of being the 5-days-a-week sort of disregarded companion of the excentric but charming Quwilleran. She tried hard to increase his affection but failed and finally left him. - Good point, isn't it?
We better wait until April '08 to see if the barn has totally burned down, if Polly is definitely gone forever, etc.
And at least - let's say a big Thank you to Mrs. Lillian Jackson Braun for many joyful reading hours.

Posted by: chris burkhardt at December 6, 2007 07:40 AM

This book has to many inconsistencies. Good examples of inconsistencies are Qwill's reaction to Polly's leaving, when she had the wreck in Paris, why wasn't Qwill on the first plane? Another example is what happened to the the Absurdist play Qwil wrote, and why wasn't Arch Riker (Qwill's life long friend)not there to comfort him after Polly left and the fire???? It incorperates none of the new things that happen in The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell. One example is that Jennifer Dimwalt was taking over The Grist Mill after Elizabeth Hart's death, where was she???? Othe examples include where are Derrick Cuttlebrink, Roger, Junior or Fran Brodie? Conversation start and stop and never pickup again and have no relevance to anything else in the book. It introduces to many new characters and really does not explain the leaving of Polly or Clarissa. Something’s do not make any sense, especially Polly moving to Paris. She would never give her cats away. This book has absolutely nothing to do with Koko’s sixty whiskers. Also, no one died after Koko’s 2nd death howl. Was it because Polly had left????? The dialogue itself seems pointless half the time, though perhaps that's due to the fact that there really isn't a plot in this book. What would normally be the main plot that actually involves a murder is often covered up by all the other events going on in Qwilleran's life. It's almost like the entire book consists of "let's see what Qwilleran and his cats are up to these days" plot threads with little coherence. Oh, they all make sense by themselves, but why they were included is the mystery. Earlier books aren't this aimless.

Posted by: Patty Ficklen at December 24, 2007 04:16 PM

I do not trust the Bestovers (Shirley and her son). What do we know about them. They could have done something to Polly. The sick mother that the Bestover son brought home could be a drugged Polly. To what end all this charade is going, I do not know. Hopefully in the next book Qwill will wake up, fly to Paris and look for POlly.
To many unanswered question.

Posted by: Patty Ficklen at December 27, 2007 01:32 PM

I still think there are multiple pages missing from the end of the book! I've searched and searched and still can't get beyond the last sentence of Chapter 20 in the ones I've seen..."..."You're right!", he said, "we won't do it!" Now, is that any way to end a story? Help! Help! Can someone explain these missing (?) pages?

Posted by: Joy Galloway at January 9, 2008 07:07 PM

I have to agree with everything said about this last book. I have loved the entire series (up to this book) & have recommended it to anyone wanting a lite, entertaining read. I was so disappointed with the way this last book ended that I thought pages had been left out of the copy I had bought. I actually went to a bookstore to see if I maybe just had a bad copy.

It would be wonderful if another book would be written that would resolve all the fragmented story lines left dangling in the "Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers". I hate to think that this "60 Whiskers" book would be the final chapter Mrs. Braun might write. She has given us so much enjoyment, I would hate to see her end her career with this book!

Posted by: Roberta at January 19, 2008 03:04 PM

I agree that this book was disjointed, out of character and completely odd. But I don't think we should be so quick to abandon our author. There's another book due to be released in april of this year. I, no matter how dissapointed I was by this book, am buying it. If everything is not explained in that book, then I will stop reading.
I'm giving her one more change.

Posted by: Leti at January 20, 2008 11:02 PM

This book was horrible...if she actually wrote it herself she should quit NOW...It was a complete waste of my time and money and she should be ashamed of herself for putting out such junk..and the publisher and editor...what were they thinking???

Posted by: Judi at February 10, 2008 11:11 AM

I just bought "60 Whiskers" today and was able to read it in about two hours. Like everyone else, I am extremely disappointed, having read the rest of the collection at least twice. I don't believe for a second that Ms. Braun wrote this. It reads more like a collection of notes that have been poorly "embellished" by someone else who is not too familiar with the series. The sentence and paragraph structure are far too simplistic to have been written by Ms. Braun. I agree that the dialogue and events are abrupt and disjointed. The book also has exclamation points on almost every page - a favorite trick of the inexperienced and unimaginative writer. The actions of Qwill and Polly are completely out of character. I suspect that Ms. Braun is either dead or too ill to continue writing, but I am thankful for the wonderful stories she has given us. Perhaps we should all send a note to Penguin and tell them to either get a real writer who can approximate the previous work, or give it up completely, because we won't be buying any more drivel like "60 Whiskers."

Posted by: Pamela at March 1, 2008 12:35 AM

I agree 60 whiskers was hard to follow, and I also was wondering about Fran and Junior. But honestly, Polly was never a good fit for Mr. Q who in earlier books was always described as being attacted to, and attractive to younger women. Polly was simply boring, and I never really understood why Mr Q was with her so long anyway. Because she had a pretty voice? Because she liked books? Please. Really, it was past time for Polly to go. I was disturbed by the way she left though, although I wonder if that wasn't the entire point of the excerise. As for not having a real mystery, there was enough, or too much, going on without it.

Posted by: Teri at March 2, 2008 07:34 AM

I borrowed this book from the library and was also so disappointed.
I too felt that Polly left rather abruptly and was amazed by the chopped ending.

There is definitely something amiss here and I hope the publishers put it to right soon.
If the next book is like this, we can all assume that the author has stopped writing and didn't want to tell her fans.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 12, 2008 08:24 PM

I don't think this was written by a ghost writer. A ghost writer would have done a better job. Ms Braun is 95 years old and seems to be losing it. She doesn't seem to remember threads, and it appears she was tired of Polly and the barn and so just tossed them. The last few books, from Bananas on, have been real disappointments. The earlier books were great and I admired her creativity. I would like to see her turn the series over to someone else - a ghost writer if you will - who will at the least give us proper closure.

Posted by: Rosalie at March 24, 2008 03:09 PM

I too was really disappointed and agree with the post about all the loose ends (Patty in Dec. 2007). I'm sorry I bought it and I'm sorry I read it.

Posted by: Jo T at August 24, 2008 06:45 PM

I've read and owned most of these books... I'm feeling sick tonight, and finished the book while in bed... I had to re-read the last two chapters to make sure I wasn't loopy. Horrible ending, and unless this is meant to be the first part of two, I can't see how this book is even worthy of the series.

Did anyone else notice that there was no chapter from the next book in the end of the paperback? I thought that was pretty much standard for the "Cat Who" books...

Posted by: Ash at September 12, 2008 10:10 PM

60 Whiskers was so utterly devastating to fans that I don't know what to say! No way would Polly or Quill have done or not done what they purportedly did or did not do in that story!!!!! I so looked forward to the next installment in the series, but now... I thought that The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell, published in 2006, lacked the usual depth of vocabulary and the regular style of dialogue, so the decline may have begun then. Put and end to the ruse and don't try to fool the public any longer, please Ms. Braun!!!! Can someone solve the mystery of what has happened to the "Cat Who" mysteries?

Posted by: Deb C. at January 28, 2009 12:56 PM

Just was so disappointed when i finished this book that I wanted to find some where to say it.
Not much in the way of a murder mystery. Fist one of her books that I didn't like most of the way through but kept hoping it was going to get better. It didn't and ended terribly. Not even a clear picture of who was murdered and by whom. To many loose ends.

Posted by: Dawn at January 29, 2009 02:55 PM

Here is a small thing about the books that caused me to immediately dislike them and think someone other than her - LJB - had been writing or a new Editor (Idiotor) had come on board.

I have always read in the books that when Qwill would sit down to read a book, he would loudly declare 'Book!'. They changed it to 'Read!' Since when would such a change work?

The character flow was also abrupt and without much of the depth that the characters have gained over the years.

Most sad.

I will hope the next book will include the word Book or I will be sorely disappointed. :-(


Posted by: Clifford Phillips at February 24, 2009 10:14 PM

I just finished the last book last night. It broke my heart. Everyone is right, Ms. Braun seems to have lost her style. Around the 19th book they start to fall apart. Less murder-solving and too much getting involved with everything else in town. Not enough cat antics. If she wanted to end it, the author should have ended with a flourish, not a whimper.

Posted by: Rachel Mortenson at November 16, 2009 10:17 AM

Yes, what a disappointment. If I had to guess, I'd say LJB wrote the first half of the book, became ill or unable to finish, and someone else wrapped it up. What else could explain the easy dispatch of Qwill's girlfriend, the destruction of his adored home, and the half-hearted hint of a murderer? I guess it was some way to end a series.
After so many books, I wouldn't be surprised of LJB was just tired of writing them.
The other books are still good, though, and worth reading.

Posted by: DMD at August 13, 2010 02:18 PM
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