4 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare, the 7th book in the “Cat Who” series, published in 1988 by Lilian Jackson Braun. At this point, the series is well under way. Qwill has been in Pickax, Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere, for almost a year. He’s gotten to know several of the town’s residents, taken on a part-time column at the local paper and begun dating Polly Duncan, which will turn out to be a very low-key relationship for at least the next ten books in the series. In this installment, we learn more about the Goodwinter family, early founders of the town, and a family full of kooky characters. When one of the elders, who publishes the paper, dies, it looks like it may be more than an accident. And so what does Qwill do when his mustache starts to twitch a little? He investigates like any good journalist. It’s all about the Hixie Rice, the food critic, XYZ Enterprises, a big business and Down Below (anything south of Pickax), and the history of the Goodwinter family. Plus Shakespeare of course… and a very valuable copy of his play.
This was one of the cuter books in the series, partially because we really spend a lot of time with the various townspeople, see a few of them murdered off, and get to experience Qwill building solid relationships. Hixie Rice is a fun character… she will always make you laugh and a little annoyed at the same time. But it’s Junior Goodwinter who becomes a strong addition to the books in the future. He’s young, eventually has his own family and looks at Qwill with a lot of respect. I enjoy their friendship over the years.
You’ve go the usual antics with the cats, the plans for Qwill’s future residence (he moves to a converted apple barn!) and his foray into becoming a core and leading member of the town. Writing this review kinda makes me want to go back to read one again. I probably won’t, as there is so much else out there to read… but it’s that kind of series. You will love the simplicity of the characters and the backdrop.
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