The New Shoe

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade January 2002

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The Cat Who Sang For The Birds-                                 Lillian Jackson Braun                 Published by the Berkly publishing Group, March 1998         "The Cat Who Sang For The Birds" is the twentyith in a long series of "cat books". These books are mysteries that are light reading, and are very interesting. I would recomend them to anyone who injoyes a good mystery.This book was very exciting and had few bad points.

        Jim Qwilleran, a retired journalist from New York comes to the sleepy town of Pickax, four hundred miles north of everywhere. He bought an old barn and turned it into an exceptional house. He lives with two abnormaly brilliant siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum.

        The main plot of the story revolves around a ninty three year old pickax native, Maud Coggins. Maud is the town's odd ball. She lives in a broken down shack with no running water or electricity.

She raises five old stray dogs as well as numerous chickens and hens. One day she is killed in a suspicious house fire. The people of pickax all think the crazy old kook must have left a candle burning all night and forgot about it. Not so, according to Quilleran. His post journalist thinking tells him to investigate. The plot thickens.

        A few days after the fire, Quilleran comes home to find Koko licking a photograph. It showed Maud Coggins digging a hole outside her home. She had an old can full of money beside her. This only increased Quilleran's desire to find out what really happened.

After talking to some well known town folk about Mauds photograph, he finds out that she had sold her hundred acre farm just a month before for one hundred thousand dollars. Now Qwilleran comes to the conclusion that Maud must have been murdered for her money.

                Now, the cast of characters emerges. Phoebe, the butterfly painter, Arch Riker, the Newspaper editor, Robert, the town deputy. Qwilleran cant figure out who could have possibly done it. Maud may have been crazy but she was certainly well respected by the pickax people.

        Suspicions falls on the out of towner named Richard who was staying at a nearby motel. After all, he was an outsider. Richard was suspected of being a land developer. Now richard seems to play a major part in this mystery.

        The photo that had been found by Koko had been taken by a young friend of Maud Coggins. Why was Koko so interested in this picture? Did the Richard find this photo and go for the money? Did the land developer want to protect his cheap investment?         When Qwilleran finds out that a new town cemetery was being planed for Maudes old acerage, he suspects a motive for Richard. Why was the museum broken into and butterfly painting stolen? Koko and Yum Yum play a game of checkers using only the red chips. These and many other mysteries all play a part in this story.

        There were few bad points in this story, although the author did spend too much time on information that had nothing to do with the murder.

        Lillian Jackson Braun lives with two siamese cats. She gets her ideas for her books from her obviously very intelligent cats Koko and Yum Yum. She says "I will have all the ideas I will ever need thanks to Koko And Yum Yum.