Lilian Jackson Braun was an American writer. She is well-known for her light-hearted series of The Cat Who… mystery novels. The Cat Who books center around the life of former newspaper reporter James Qwilleran, and his two Siamese cats, KoKo and Yum Yum in the fictitious small town of Pickax located in Moose County, "400 miles north of everywhere." Although never formally stated in the books, the towns, counties and lifestyles described in the series are generally accepted to be a modeled after Bad Axe, Michigan (located in the "Michigan Thumb") where she resided with her husband for many years until the mid 1980's. Many also believe that the culture and history of the Upper peninsula of Michigan are represented in the series as well, which is quite possible as it is indeed a fictitious location.
Lilian Jackson Braun began her writing career as a teenager, contributing sports poetry for the Detroit News. She later began working as an advertising copywriter for many of Detroit's department stores. After that stint, she worked at the Detroit Free Press as the "Good Living" editor for 30 years. She retired from the Free Press in 1978.
Between 1966 and 1968, she published three novels to critical acclaim: The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern and The Cat Who Turned On and Off. In 1966, The New York Times labeled Braun, "the new detective of the year." The rising mystery author disappeared from the publishing scene for 18 years. The blame came from the fact that mystery novels were starting to focus on sex, violence, and foul language, and Braun's light-hearted books were not welcome in this new territory. It wasn't until 1986 that the Berkley Publishing Group reintroduced Braun to the public with the publication of an original paperback, The Cat Who Saw Red. Within two years, Berkeley released four new novels in paperback and reprinted the three mysteries from the sixties. Braun's series became an instant best seller once again. In January 2007 the twenty-ninth novel in the series, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, was released in hardcover by the Penguin Group.
Not much was really known about Braun, as she prefered to keep her private life that way. For years, publishers have given inaccurate accounts of her year of birth, which has remained unknown until she openly acknowledged her age in an interview for the Detroit News in January 2005.