It was with sadness that I heard that The Cat Who Smelled Smoke would not be coming out—it was supposed to have been published a year ago this month and I and a lot of other readers have been waiting for it. It’s funny with series books. You get interested in the characters and then you have to keep on reading the books to find out what’s been happening in their little corner of the world. They become like family and you’ll put up with a lot before you turn your back and say ‘enough, already.’
Quite a few of my friends gave up on this series long ago–many of them after reading The Cat Who Moved a Mountain. The Potato Mountains and the folks who lived there (Taters) were just too much. I usually give a series at least one farfetched, silly episode and then if things don’t get better, I consider abandoning it. Ms. Braun’s next few books improved and I kept reading even though other readers got sick of Qwilleran’s obsession with his moustache and his other peccadillos. Nothing any of the characters did made me want to slap them (admit it–this must have happened to you and you don’t need to spend your leisure, ‘escape’ time being aggravated–that’s what everyday life is for) until the last book, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers.
In this last book Polly left for Paris and told one of her friends to pack up her belongings and see to it that her cats got homes, Qwilleran’s barn burned down, but he didn’t seem terribly upset about it or the fact that Polly had abandoned him and Moose County. Yikes. Ms. Braun, or whoever wrote this book (there were rumors that she had become unable to finish her book and that someone else had been called in, rumors that she had actually died and someone else had written this book and was working on the next one) violated one of the cardinal rules of series writers–she was untrue to her characters and her story. I couldn’t imagine where she was going to go with this and I guess she came to the same conclusion. It’s too bad. I’ll miss everybody in Moose County. Maybe it is better to quit while you’re at the top of your game.
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