Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Cat Who Talked To Ghosts, Lilian Jackson Braun (1990)

This novel offers what every good mystery should – fine writing, engaging characters, an unsolved murder, and a sleuth driven to determine what happened. All of Braun's novels deserve this recipe. Unfortunately, not all of her books provide it. Braun clearly knows how to apply tension, intrigue, and suspense. For that reason, I can't understand why so many of her books often lack these winning elements. It's as if she's merely stumbling on these devices blindly. Which I refuse to believe. Yet in some cases the contrast appears too great to be otherwise. 

Some of her novels convince you this is a mystery writer to follow. Others make you wonder whether this is the same author. I mean, how do you go from a well-plotted novel with engaging, intriguing characters, tension, an unfolding of events and clues and sleuth-work to a satisfying finale in one novel, such as this one or her novel The Cat Who Saw Red (which is also excellent) and then on to the next novel that chronicles (stress free), irrelevant conversations, summaries of menus and luncheons, soirees, benefits, charities, and just about anything else that would serve a personal diary, as her novel The Cat Who Smelled a Rat does? I acknowledge that not everything a given author writes can be a masterpiece. But with Braun, the difference between the two, the contrast from a keeper to a throw away, is staggering. 

Still, ...Talked to Ghosts is good. Four out of five stars. PG 

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