America's most beloved writer, Lilian Jackson Braun, author of twenty-four Cat Who... mysteries is now the subject of a mystery herself. In this spoof by one of her most ardent admirers, her beheaded body has been discovered in the men's room of a gay bar in Lower Manhattan. The police are baffled, and so it is up to Braun's eccentric writer friend, James Q. (Qafka), and his Siamese cats Ying-Ton and Poon-Tang to solve the ghastly mystery. Q.'s quest leads him on a hilarious, ribald chase in story that is best described best described as Lenny Bruce meets Dashiell Hammett. Before it's done we've encountered Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Roth, a sex-starved suburban housewife, a mysterious Hollywood diary, Britney Spears, an ancient secret society, and two gifted cats whose trail of urine and hairballs leads Q. and his spunky undergraduate assistant to finally unravel the riddle of The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun
In this wildly funny, biting satire, in which James Qafka, noted children's book author and his cats, Ying-Tong and Poon-Tang, investigate the ghastly murder of Lilian Jackson Braun, Kaplow's shotgun approach shatters his main targets and does a lot of collateral damage as well. Like Mad magazine humor, the zingers come quickly, lancing Britney Spears on one page, delivering a glancing blow to "Murder, She Wrote" on the next and giving a resounding slap to Oprah Winfrey a couple of pages after that. The copious puns range from the simple to the elaborate, and include a perfect gem complete in a one-page chapter. As is true with the author and sleuth the book parodies, readers are more likely to be along for the joy of the journey than for the nominal mystery. But where the real Lilian Jackson Braun chronicles a whitebread world of gentility and graciousness, Kaplow's fevered imagination brings forth a torrent of insults, invective and invention. Who else would create a confluence of Mary Astor, Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle and Jackie Gleason, while at the same time paying particular tribute to The Maltese Falcon? LJB purists may not be amused, and the same might be said of staunch Philip Roth fans, for Roth plays a unique role in Kaplow's opus. The rest of the reading public may read and roar.
So disappointing. I thought I was getting a true “Cat Who” book.
I have read every Cat Who (except "...Saw Red", which I bought here and am reading now).
I remembered reading about this work years ago, and being told (most sternly) that the library would NOT be ordering this book.
It is absolutely hilarious. Ms Braun would have approved. Somewhat in the style of the absurd, but not rude. For instance, "Q" prepares a gourmet meal for two cats, who turn away because it isn't dry cat food. The author's timing was perfect.