A Cat Who Could Read Backwards
(Lilian Jackson Braun)
Jim Qwilleran, an experienced journalist, even said to be a veteran of his profession, experienced recently a downfall of his carrier. Yet a new chance is emerging, a new, permanent job- an offer so surprising that he himself becomes nearly dumb- struck. He, a specialist rather within swindles and scandals, should start writing feuilletons about art- and more precisely about artists and their private life in a controversial tabloid Daily Fluxion. Controversial mostly due to Jim?s new colleague in the artistic section- an amazing arts? critic George Bonifield Mountclemens III. This critic with his merciless articles can draw artist to the border of despair or even to ceasing their activity, defining their individual artistic exhibitions as ?interesting collection of frames? or daubster that should not be shown in public. He seems to favor only few of them- and what is even more interesting, those related to one art gallery... Just a coincidence or a clever manipulation? Jim Qwilleran slowly gets to know the artistic milieu, he meets people about whom he is to write, he tries- therefore sometimes with only mediocre effects- to find a sense in their works. Finally he gets to known Mountclemens himself and the so far most important personage: a wonderful Siamese cat Kao K?o Kung who uses to eat fried liver from a china dish and enjoys reading newspapers headlines backwards. By the time the journalist sets for good in the area the first murder happens. The proprietor of the controversial gallery, praised enormously by the critic Mountclemens, is found dead. Moreover, his favorite painting disappears- a half of a valuable canvas which, when completed with another half, could become a work of an enormous worth. Jim, heedless of his new duties as a feuilletons writer of an artistic section, looks eagerly into the investigation, the more zealously, the more passionately the eyes of the dead man?s wife stare at him. And even more when he comes across another corpse- in a dark street near his own house George Mountclemens is assassinated. Who stabbed the knife? Only the cat who reads backwards knows the answer to this question.....