Back in January I wrote about my passion for reading the “Cat Who” series of novels by Lilian Jackson Braun and puzzled over why the series trailed off in such a deflated way.  I pondered with the rest of her fans about whether or not the series was continued by a ghost writer, among other things.

Many of those questions were addressed when press releases popped up all over the Internet this past week announcing the passing of Lilian Jackson Braun at the age of 97, just two weeks shy of her 98th birthday that would have been June 20th, 2011.  The New York Times version of the announcement just gave me more reason to be inspired by her, citing that she made all of her life’s accomplishments without a college education (it’s subtly put “the Depression Era put a college education out of reach”).  She passed away on June 4th, 2011.

I found others that went in to a little more detail about her being filled with regret at not having completed “The Cat Who Smelled Smoke”.  I’ve found forums alive with new activity speculating if Jim Qwilleran, Koko and Yum Yum will be brought to life on the screen – big or small, and suggestions for actors to play the lead role.  Tom Selleck is mentioned a lot and ironically, his image used to pop into my head often in reading the description of Qwill’s “luxurious mustache”.  I was watching a fair amount of Magnum P.I. episodes around the time I discovered these books in the early 90’s.

It will be interesting to see what develops.  Over the years there have been many rumors that certain things would be allowed to occur related to some furthering of series following this event.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  I’m about 3 or 4 chapters into “The Cat Who Played Post Office” on my third or fourth turn at reading the series from beginning to end.  Perhaps when I get to “The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers” there will be some news on the release of that final novel in the series.  I would love to see her estate permit some type of more fitting conclusion to the story.

Now, I’ll have to see if I can craft myself a copy of her obituary in the style of the Pickax tradition of framing the obituaries of it’s most respected citizens.  I think it would make a nice tribute to have in my library, near the bookshelf where Qwill, Koko and Yum Yum live.

Here is the announcement from the funeral home in Landrum, SC.