The Cat Who Moved a Mountain by Lillian Jackson Braun (mystery novel, 1992).
I think this is the third or fourth in Braun’s series of ‘Cat Who’ books I’ve read over the years. Which only leaves about a million more for me to latch onto (I exaggerate, but only somewhat–it’s a very successful, prolific and fun series). This time out, crime-solving journalist Qwilleran and his feline sidekicks Yum Yum and Koko go on a vacation that (of course) proves anything but restful.
Departing Moose County to rent a huge old mansion atop the largest of the distant Potato Mountains they encounter a varied lot of locals. Soon they’re involved in a year-old murder case. It happened at the very location they’re to inhabit and the case is supposedly long-solved (complete with a young man already convicted and in prison for the crime). But something doesn’t seem right, especially as Qwill and his Siamese companion animals begin to look into the matter.
In this case, the title literally refers to playful Koko knocking a wall mounted painting of the mountains aside. This reveals what’s hidden behind it: The first clue that things may not be as at all as they appear–and as certain individuals want things to stay. On a more symbolic level, what follows will lead to big and unexpected changes for the area’s involving environmentally threatened mountains, the people who live there and the nearby town-folk they’re often in conflict with.
I found this an enjoyable series entrant, although perhaps not one of Braun’s very best–maybe because, like Qwill, I felt a tinge of homesickness for his usual stomping grounds and the often lovably eccentric Moose County residents who plat bigger roles in most of these stories. As always, the interactions between Qwill and his beloved cats are charming. The supporting cast is interesting and the final (violent) confrontation with the evildoers leads to truth and justice prevailing. Abruptly thereafter, news of tragic events back home force our heroes to rush back to the friendly (if often murder plagued) confines of Moose County, undoubtedly providing entry into the next mystery in the series.