Twenty-five years ago, Jim Qwilleran walked into my life...huffing into his large moustache, spelling his name oddly, drinking black coffee at the Press Club bar. He was tall but seemed world-weary. His entire earthly possessions fit into two suitcases. He was a down-and-out crime reporter willing to cover any minor beat if it could get him back into newspapering.
Then, almost overnight, peculiar circumstances made him the richest man in northeast central United States.
All that money made Qwilleran nervous, until he remembered the old saying: "Money is like muck; it doesn't do any good unless you spread it around." He established a foundation to spread it around.
Now Qwilleran lives in a small town, 400 miles north of everywhere, and writes for a small newspaper. He stands tall and straight. He dates a librarian. His roommates are two abandoned cats that he adopted along the way, one of them quite remarkable.
Despite his fame and fortune, Qwilleran's popularity really stems from his sense of humor, individuality, and willingness to listen. He has a writer's talent for sympathetic listening--half compassion, half curiosity--and it draws confidences from men and women, old and young.
Qwilleran has a secret of his own that he shares with no one--or hardly anyone. His male cat, Koko, has an uncanny intuition that can tell right from wrong and frequently sniffs out the evil-doer. Together, he and Qwilleran have solved several cases. The Cat Who Brought Down the House is the twenty-fifth installment of the Qwilleran saga. Shall we try for twenty-six?
Who was Thelma Thackeray?
It was April first, and it sounded like an April Fool's joke.
Had anyone by that name ever lived in Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere?
Yet, there it was, in black and white-in the newsbite column of the Moose County Something:
Return of The Native
Thelma Thackeray, 82, a native of Moose County, has retired after a 55-year career in Hollywood, CA, and is returning to her native soil. "I'm coming home to die," she said cheerfully, "but not right away. First I want to have some fun."
It was followed by less startling items: The sheriff had purchased a stop-stick to aid deputies in high-speed car chases....The Downtown Beautiful committee had decided on hot-pink petunias for the flower boxes on Main Street....The sow that escaped from a truck on Sandpit Road had been discovered in the basement of the Black Creek Elementary School.
Immediately the lead item was being discussed all over town, via the grapevine...
If you liked The Cat Who Brought Down The House, try these:
Only her quick-witted cat and its animal pals stand between postmistress Mary "Harry" Haristeen and a homicidal maniac who means to ensure that she carries what she knows to the grave.
Undeterred by world war and enemy submarines, Amelia Peabody -- archaeologist-sleuth -- once again sets sail for Egypt, where ghosts of an ancient past and specters of a present-day evil hover silently over an inscrutable land.
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