Lilian Jackson Braun never had any pets as a child, so her first experiences as a cat owner….ahem, I mean her first time being owned by a cat…were after she was married and living in an apartment. Her cat, Koko (the first out of several), had a very short life, and it was ended by a fall from the window of her apartment building. She was filled with grief, of course, over her beloved pet, but when others from her building came to her with evidence that her cat had been pushed out the window by an odd neighbor, her grief became combined with anger, and she wrote to get revenge. The product of her anger was a short story called "The Sin of Madame Phloi."
"The Revenge of Madame Phloi" was picked up by Ellery Queen's mystery magazine and was later named one of the "Best Detective Stories of the Year" in the 1960's. More cat stories were requested, and Lilian obliged with about a half dozen more. When the demand increased more, they suggested she try her hand at a cat mystery novel. She came up with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards. They asked for more (The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern), and more (The Cat Who Turned On and Off).
Eighteen years passed before she submitted the manuscript of the fourth book. It was somewhat forgotten because she had a good job, and the standards had changed. Sex was what sold, not kitty stories. Regardless, The Cat Who Saw Red was accepted as a paperback, and that lead to another, and another, and another, and "the rest is history."
Lilian and her husband Earl Bettinger live in North Carolina with their Siamese cats, Koko III and Pitti Sing. North Carolina became their retirement place of choice after Lilian wrote on the furniture market in High Point, NC, and decided that it would be a great place to live. Books on good places to retire also recommended North Carolina highly.
Cat Who books are published in countries such as Brazil, Bulgaria, England, France, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and several other countries, bringing the total to about fifteen.
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