In this report, I will provide a concise list of information in regards to the book The Cat Who Went Into The Closet, by Lilian Jackson Braun. This book was a two-hundred and fifty-seven page fictional novel with the protagonist being a middle-aged bachelor named Jim Qwilleran with a multi-million dollar inheritance; who lives in a small city named Pickax-population three-thousand. The key points I will be explaining about the book include: the setting, plot, characters, conflict, point of view, and theme, in that order.
In the story, the setting was described as a low-populated city called Pickax-which is said to be located four-hundred miles north of everywhere. They live in a time period not unlike the current one, so I believe it would fall within the range of about ten years before today. The city of Pickax, which resides in Moose County, is said to annually receive a very large and destructive snow storm.
This tells you that it is somewhere in the northern states; thus explaining the popular saying, "Four-hundred miles north of everywhere." The setting doesn't vary considerably throughout the story, at certain points the protagonist is sent to other cities and locations, although they are not far from Pickax.
The plot of the story is based on the lifestyle of the protagonist; Jim Qwilleran. Being the nonchalant person that he is, withdrew himself from his life in the big city as a journalist to experience a more casual life in the country. He spends his days doing odd-jobs for his acquaintances and also writing for his column in the local newspaper: The Moose County Something. Basically, what happens is while "Qwill" goes about his daily life a series of deaths take place around him, which turn out to be murders. These mysterious deaths arouse his suspicions, and he is determined to uncover the truth about the murders and catch the perpetrators behind it all.
The characters of the story include: Jim Qwilleran-the heir to the multi-million dollar Klingenschoen fortune. Koko; (short for "Kao K'o Kung") an extremely intelligent Siamese cat with a knack for solving mysteries. Yum Yum, another Siamese cat; who partakes in an assistant role as to the crime-solving. There are also various other characters who interact with Qwilleran in his daily life. Qwilleran has an unusual personality for someone of his status. The reason I say this is because he has inherited millions of dollars, and yet, he retains himself to a life of solitude; with the exception of his close friends. He has an intelligent, caring, intuitive personality that is rare to come by in a person. He makes of examples of this whilst he is solving crimes, helping out his friends, and even doing tasks for the city. With his fortune, he has started a foundation called the Klingenschoen Foundation. This foundation, often nicknamed the K Foundation, was established to allow all the money he has inherited to be spent in ways that help the city. This is a perfect example of his caring personality, and he is quite respected because of it.
The most significant conflict from the story in my opinion would be a man vs. man conflict involving the protagonist; Jim Qwilleran, and a multitude of antagonists from a retirement home in Florida called "The Park of Pink Sunsets". This group of people from the Park of Pink Sunsets has an organized crime-ring that is based on an illicit scheme in which they steal money from the residents in various ways. Qwilleran tackles the mystery head-on and with his skills as a journalist (and a good bit of help from his intelligent feline companions) he is able to uncover the scheme, the criminals, and their motives. (One other notable conflict would be a man vs. nature conflict which involves "The Big Snow" that occurs annually because of the geographical location of Pickax.)
The point of view is expressed as third person limited. This basically means that the focus is on a certain characters thoughts and feelings rather than all the characters in the story. This point of view has a large influence on the way things are presented in the story, reason being it only lets us know one persons thoughts. When a story is set up in this point of view, it allows the reader to interpret the other characters and the situations that are brought up based on the views of the protagonist. This style often strikes your curiosity about the true feelings or thoughts of the other characters, and generates questions and possibly suspicions about what is going on. Because of that, it is perfect for mystery novels.
As for the theme of the selection, I do not believe there is one theme that transcends the rest. I noticed quite a few themes throughout the story, such as: "You can't always believe what you hear." And "Trust your instincts." Or even something along the lines of, "Don't take things for granted." You could probably even attest to the theme, "There is more than meets the eye." There is an abundance of messages that can be pulled from the story, and I'm sure I hardly scratched the surface as to what you could decipher.
In conclusion, this book focuses on stimulating the natural curiosity of the human mind to entice the reader. In my opinion, it does a fairly good job at this. It peaks your interest and curiosity, without going too in-depth. It is an easy read, and provides a compelling plot that befits the series. Overall, the intellectual Qwilleran and his prescient Siamese are the perfect candidates to captivate the reader into the storyline, and ensure a pleasurable read.