by Cynthia Chow
& Jennifer J Chow
This week we have a review of the latest mystery by Jennifer J. Chow, along with a fun guest post by Jennifer about Valentine’s Day. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.
Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines A Sassy Cat Mystery by Jennifer Chow
Review by Cynthia Chow
Mimi Lee has never been happier. The success of her pet grooming business Hollywoof continues to grow, with there being no shortage of Los Angelinos willing to indulge and pamper their companions. Pedicures, bling, dyed periwinkle hairdos – Mimi has seen it all and is more than willing to do her best to ethically and safely match their whims. Even her sister Alice is finding joy teaching at Roosevelt Elementary, as her new Principal is more welcoming than her previous boss and always willing to hand out hugs. The one worm in Alice’s apple is Valentine’s Day, when the usually single siblings spend the day together commiserating. For the first in a very long time, twenty-five year-old Mimi finally has the perfect boyfriend in attorney Josh Akana, so she is sympathetically distracting a less-than-ebullient Alice with a pre-Valentine’s night of celebration.
Unfortunately, their plans are quickly halted when they discover the body of new teacher Helen, dead in her car in the teacher’s parking lot. Alice had good-intentionally given Helen a ginger chew to help with her upset stomach, and being the last person to have seen the victim places Alice high on Detective Brown’s suspect list. A stray kitten who had drawn them to Helen’s car is taken in by Alice but ultimately cared for by Mimi, who discovers that Nimbus has a talent very similar to her own cat companion. For while Marshmallow has the ability to understand Mimi and telepathically speak to her, Nimbus has a mysterious microchip unreadable to veterinarian equipment but Marshmallow recognizes immediately. So not only will Mimi be doing her all to protect her sister from the police and prove her innocence, the dog groomer will be tracking down leads to those responsible for her sarcastic but amazingly gifted cat.
Readers looking to escape into a fun, animal-celebratory novel will revel in this second of the appropriately titled Sassy Cat Mystery series. Marshmallow is indeed an opinionated feline, never hesitating to share his views on Mimi’s dating life, family, of friends. That she’s the only one – so far – who can hear him may be a sign of their companionable bond, but it could also be something much more. How this plays out in the future will be fascinating to behold, as it opens up a world built around science-fiction as much as fantasy. Those drawn in by Mimi’s irresistible multi-cultural family will more than appreciate the mouth-watering Malaysian dinners and enthusiastic parental discussions. The meeting between Mimi and Josh’s Hawaiian-Japanese family is yet another vicarious delight of blended ethnicities and traditions. Still, Mimi and her clients are the stars of this unique and very entertaining series, which blends telepathic cats, criminal puzzles, family miscommunications, and romantic intrigue.
The Love Holiday
By Jennifer J. Chow
Let’s talk about love. Valentine’s is supposed to be a holiday of hugs and kisses. In my early elementary years, I was required to buy cards for all my peers—and my teacher, of course. Even though I didn’t relish the candy conversation hearts (too grittily sweet), I appreciated their encouraging messages.
As I grew older, V-Day shifted for me. I saw the underside of the holiday. Even beyond the conspicuous consumption and the one-upping of gifts, there were often feelings of loneliness and negativity. What did it mean if I didn’t have a secret admirer? Was I somehow “less than” if a candygram didn’t get delivered to me?
My newest novel, Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines, is set right around Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to explore that juxtaposition of opposing moods. Mimi Lee is ready for a pre-Valentine’s girls’ night out with her sister, Alice. Instead of having a fun time, though, they find a dead body at the elementary school where Alice works.
In this Valentine’s-themed book, love isn’t just about dates and significant others. In fact, it’s more about the sisterly care between the siblings. Mimi is determined to clear her younger sister’s name from the suspects list.
It’s also about Mimi’s love for her parents, who are experiencing a rocky patch in their marriage. There is a glimmer of love in Mimi’s life, though—but it’s not from a person. Instead, it’s through a new stray kitty that melts Mimi’s heart.
Like all love stories, Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines does have a happy-ever-after ending, and it’s the traditional one found in cozy mysteries. One of the reasons I so adore this genre is the neatly wrapped conclusion, when justice gets served.
So, I’m now wishing you much literary love and a happily solved crime for the next mystery book you pick up, whether that involves one of my Sassy Cat Mysteries or not. Happy reading!
To enter to win a copy of Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “mimi,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 30, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.
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