The history of Lilian Jackson Braun is perhaps as
exciting and mysterious as her novels. Between 1966 and 1968, she published
three novels to critical acclaim; The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern and The Cat Who Turned On and Off.
In 1966, The New York Times labeled Braun, "the new detective of
the year." Then, discouraged by the market's seemingly insatiable demand for sex and violence in mystery novels, she set the series aside for 18 years.
After retiring from the The Detroit Free Press, where she was the "Good Living" editor of for 29 years, she took up the series again with the publication of The Cat Who Saw Red (1986). Within two years her publisher, Berkley, released four new novels in paperback and reprinted the three mysteries from the sixties. The 29th novel in the series, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, was published in 2007 when she was 93 years old.
Even though Braun claims that her cats have never done anything extraordinary, her fictional cats, Koko and Yum Yum, have solved crimes and delighted fans in book after book, ably assisted by newspaperman and amateur sleuth Jim Qwilleran. Braun said the reason for her success is that "people are simply tired of all the blood. I write what is called the classic mystery..... not all mystery fans may like cats, all cat-fanciers seem to like mysteries. That makes for a large audience, since 26% of all American households own 53.9 million cats between them."
Born on June 20, 1913, in Willimansett, a village within the city of Chicopee, Massachussets, Ms Braun worked as an advertising copywriter and public-relations executive before moving to the The Detroit Free Press. She died on June 4, 2011, just a couple of weeks short of her 98th birthday. Her first husband, Louis Paul Braun, died before her. She is survived by her second husband, Earl Bettinger.
Jim Qwilleran Cat Who: Series Order
This biography was last updated on 06/08/2011.
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