Canyons.Gary Paulsen.Delacorte.184 pages. $14.95.Ages 12...


November 18, 1990|By JUDITH B. ROSENFELD The Cat Who Lived High. Lilian Jackson Braun. Putnam. 239 pages. $17.95.


Gary Paulsen.


184 pages. $14.95.

Ages 12 and up. Writing in the alternate voices of Coyote Runs, an Apache boy of the 1800s, and 15-year-old Brennan Cole of today, Gary Paulsen describes their coming of age in Dog Canyon, a setting still wide open. Coyote Runs, eager to earn the status of manhood by riding in a huge horse raid with the braves of his tribe, feels that he possesses "medicine" that will protect him from harm. Four Army soldiers prove him wrong.

Over 100 years later, when Brennan -- on a camping trip with his mother, her new boyfriend and a pack of boisterous brats -- moves to an isolated spot for some peace, he finds the skull of the Indian boy, torn apart by a large rifle shot at very close range. With his teacher-friend, Hemesley, Brennan sets out to discover the story behind the killing. In an exciting climax, Coyote Runs communicates with Brennan to help him place the skull in the sacred setting.

The experience helps Brian find an understanding with his mother and put to rest the supposed hostility he has felt toward her and his world. Mr. Paulsen draws comparison, not only with the two boys, but with the evil, senseless cruelty of the execution of the Indian boy and the violence of this era. The reader will understand Mr. Paulsen's reverence for the individual and life and will have many new ideas to ponder.

James Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats -- Koko and Yum Yum -- have returned for their 11th mystery. As in all the other novels in the series, Lilian Jackson Braun has begun the title with "The Cat Who."

Qwill, a retired reporter who received a large inheritance, is drawn into a controversy surrounding the Casablanca, a decrepit hotel in the Midwestern city of Junktown. The hotel is a local historical landmark. Developers want to tear it down and erect a luxury high-rise; in the way is a local group known as SOCK -- the Save Our Casablanca Kommittee.

Qwill, who is allied with SOCK, goes to Junktown in an attempt to persuade the Countess -- the Casablanca's slightly senile owner -- to sell the property to him. While Qwill is staying at the Casablanca, Koko discovers hidden bloodstains in the room. Several months before, there had been a grisly murder-suicide there. With his reporting instincts taking over, Qwill begins his own investigation.

"The Cat Who" series is an offbeat series with a good deal of charm, but this book is a disappointment. For all of Ms. Braun's skill and wit, "The Cat Who Lived High" is a slow-moving novel without a satisfactory ending.


The Windsor Knot.

Sharyn McCrumb.


281 pages. $16.95.

When Elizabeth MacPherson learns that her Scottish fiance, Cameron Dawson, has been invited to the Queen of England's annual tea party in Edinburgh, she is delighted. A dedicated fan of the royal family, Elizabeth gladly would drop everything and fly overseas for the occasion.

Unfortunately, only spouses are allowed to tag along to such an exclusive affair, but the always-clever Elizabeth has a solution. She and Cameron must get married right away! After overcoming her fiance's objections, she calls her aunt in Georgia and asks her to arrange a formal wedding immediately.

Wedding plans are at the heart of "The Windsor Knot," Sharyn McCrumb's fifth MacPherson mystery. The crime -- which forces Elizabeth, a forensic anthropology student, to analyze some suspicious cremated remains just days before her nuptials -- is almost a subplot. Fans no doubt will welcome another chance to spend some time with Elizabeth and her off-the-wall relatives, but newcomers should start with one of the earlier books in the series.


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.