Cat mystery novels

I haven’t read any of them, but I have grown curious to try some. Which author is better?

Rita Mae Brown (Sneaky Pie Brown)
Lilian Jackson Braun? (The Cat Who…)

From reading the jackets, I’d assume I would probably like Lilian Jackson Braun better, because the lead character is a man.

No reason I can’t try reading some of each author, though. I was just curious whatcha all think.

I had a music teacher once who read all of the “The Cat Who…” novels and she loved them. I have never actually read any of them though. :slight_smile:

I tried to read a Rita Mae Brown one, and totally hated it.

On the other hand, I’ve read all of Lillian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who . . .” and have loved them.

I’ve read, I think, one or two books by both authors, and remember them as kind of OK, light reading. I have a vague impression that Lioan Jackson Brown was less trwee and whimsical, but I might have got that wrong. Sorry to sound dismissive of the books - I don’t mean to - but I am just not good with mysteries anway.

AH! Just thought - for mysteries with cats in, why not try Kinky Friedman?

I very much liked the Lillian Jackson Braun mysteries that I’ve read (the first seven or eight of the series - I lost track of where I stopped). Never read the Rita Mae Browns, but a friend is nuts for them.
Another series is Carol Nelson Douglas’ “Midnight Louie” stories. IIRC they’re told from the cat’s point of view.

They are both ok, but I would give the edge to Rita Mae Brown.

I never read Rita but I used to love LJB. Especially the early ones before he became rich and famous. The first one is just classic.

spoiler I really lost interest after she had Qwilleran’s old, very cute and very sexy girlfriend, turn into a murderer. At that point I understood living in a small town can only supply so many good killers and good victims. I read a few more and saw things weren’t going the way I liked and stopped. So I have doubts that a mystery series can really be good after 10 books.

i second the midnight louie series. i just love the way that cat talks. my winkin the wonderful is an all black-born-in-the-alley cat.

the cat who series is interesting.

i keep the midnight louies, give away the cat whos.

I love LJB’s The Cat Who… series, and have read all that are out in paperback. I hated Rita Mae Brown’s series. Well, let me qualify that: I like RMB’s people, hated the cat & dog characters, who talk. (LJB’s cats do not talk. Qwilleran interprets their behavior to solve the crime.)

Another light mystery author I love is Carolyn Hart. Her “Death on Demand” series is the same tame speed as “The Cat Who…”

And yet another is Lawrence Block’s “The Burglar Who…” series.

Both of the above have cats but they don’t play any part in solving the crime.

The reason I like them so much is because of the quirky neighborhood characters, ala Murder She Wrote.

And OMG! I “accidentally” read the spoiler Osiris posted! That must happen in the lastest book, not yet in paperback.

P.S. Thanks for the lead on the Midnight Louie series. I’ll try them next.

Of the three mentioned, I have read all of them and like the Midnight Louie series best. The characters are more three-dimensional.

The worst with regard to characterization is Lillian Jacson Braun. Her first few books were pretty good, and then went downhill, it seemed like she was writing by formula. I even wondered if she was having them written and was sitting at home collecting royalties on the concept. Then the last couple of books have shown a definite improvement; maybe she just got interested in writing again? Still not as good as the other two, in my opinion.

The other two are written from the viewpoint of the animals involved. This can be a little too cutesy for some people. But I think both authors manage to pull it off OK, with the slight edge going to the Midnight Louie series.

No no, I’m sure you read this. It was in the 7th or 8th book. I’ll talk more about her in spoiler.

spoiler The really cute hot doctor. Remember?

I’ve read several of both, and I eventually had to stop reading RMB, because her dialogue writing was just absolutely horrible. I no longer read LJB either, but it’s because I just don’t care for cozies.

Well, I finally picked one to try-out. I was browsing my local Barnes & Noble and they had two different hardcover titles by Lilian Jackson Braun on a terrific discount.

I chose: The Cat Who Saw Stars for only $4.98!

They also had The Cat Who Robbed A Bank for $5.98

I would have gotten both, since they were such a great value, but I don’t even know, yet, if I will like LJB. It will be interesting to find out. :smiley:

Turns out they did have a Midnight Louie title on bargain discount as well. Upon reading the jacket, I didn’t think that would appeal to me, as much as LJB, but I may try Midnight Louie sometime.

RMB’s first two mysteries are very good. Solid writing with interesting characters and some nasty surprises.

The series has gone downhill steadily ever since. The problems her postmistress, Harry Haristeen, had with being a divorcee in a small town kind of vanished, Mrs. Hogendobber went from being a fundamentalist to someone far more tolerent of everyone, and the plotting and dialog are terrible. I read her last book and it was terrible.

By way of contrast, I’ve read a number of her other books and found them of widely varying quality, but I especially loved “Bingo” and “Six of One.” Her book of writing advice “Starting from Scratch” impressed me, but now that I’m farther along with my writing, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’ve never liked LJB, but that may be in part because Dick Van Patten narrates her books (those of you who remember MST3K’s “Master Ninja” show will know what I mean).

I read all of the “cat who” books published before 1995, and liked them a lot. (there were also a couple of good ones about a woman named Holly Winters and her dog, I think a husky, that came out around then, different author though) It amused me that Quill’s cats were siamese, since I also had a pair of them at the time. The next place I lived didn’t carry the new books in the library, and I forgot about them.

I perfer LJB"s Cat who books but the last four have been kind of let downs.

I like the Cat Who books. I haven’t read the last four. And when I read that spoiler I thought he was referring to Polly!

Another vote for LJB and The Cat Who. They’re my equivalent of chicken soup or hot chocolate – warm, soothing, and relaxing. Not the right stuff if you’re in the mood for excitement or novelty (after the first few, anyway), but good company for an evening.


I read some of The Cat Who books a long time ago, and remember thinking “hey, this isn’t really as stupid and cheesy as it sounds” but I really don’t remember much else other than something about a farm.

The Holly Winter/Alaskan malamute books are by Susan Conant, and I second elfkin477’s recommendation. Even though I’m more of a cat person IRL, the Conant books, especially the earlier ones, are packed with fascinating information about malamutes, obedience training and showing, breed rescue organizations, etc.

The Conant books aren’t written from the point of view of the dogs, nor are they particularly whimsical – both pluses to me. As much of a cat fan as I am, I find books like the Rita Mae Brown series just a bit much. I prefer cats like the one in the Kinky Friedman series that Celyn mentioned, or the ones in the early books of the Richard Jury/Melrose Plant series by Martha Grimes. The cats in those books are much more realistic, with vivid, amusing, exasperating personalities that make you think that the authors are well-acquainted with some real-life cats.