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Monday, June 06, 2011

The Cat Who Is No More (Lilian Jackson Braun Dead at 97)

Bestselling author Lilian Jacskon Braun died on June 4 at age 97 according to her husband, Earl Bettinger.  Braun was the author of 29 "The Cat Who..." mysteries, a series she began in 1966 with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards.  According to Bettinger, Braun was working on the 30th book in the series at the time of her death.

After adding two more books to the series, Braun devoted herself to a full-time job with the Detroit newspaper, and eighteen years would pass before she published the fourth "The Cat Who..." book.  The last book in the series, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, was released by Putnam in January 2007, and what would have been book number 30, The Cat Who Smelled Smoke, has now been cancelled.  

Braun, who was born on June 20, 1913, missed her 98th birthday by just sixteen days.

(I have seen Ms. Braun's books in bookstores for most of my life, it seems.  They are hard to miss in the mystery section because of the way the covers generally share a common design - but I never read one, always getting the impression that the books were of the "cozy" type more aimed at a female audience than a male one.  Whatever the case, she was a major figure in mystery writing for a long, long time, and I'm sure that her fans are saddened by news of her death.)
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