Mimi Lee Cracks the Code is a fun jaunt into the cozy corner of amateur sleuthing with warm, quirky, inviting characters from the narrator Mimi Lee, to her sister, Alice, investor Pixie St. James, and the irrepressible colleague at the grooming shop, Nicola. Mimi Lee, narrator and pet grooming shop owner, takes us along for the ride through Catalina, L.A., and surrounding areas, along with a peek into her unique family culture and the world of terrible motherly setups with nods to amine, superheroes, and, of course, Hollywood.
This one is book number three in a series of “Sassy Cat Mysteries” in which Mimi and her Persian cat, Marshmallow, team up to solve a mystery begun on the paradisiacal island of Catalina, a short ferry ride from L.A. I haven’t read the previous two books in the series yet (though now I plan to), but I easily followed along with the plots, characters, and history, being dropped into the middle of the existing series.
A few twists and turns throughout the plot keep you guessing whodunnit, though, if you’re like me, you’ll have a niggling feeling. You know…but do you?
Jennifer J. Chow, author, does a wonderful job of pouring atmosphere and concrete imagery throughout the book, solidly anchoring the reader in the grooming shop, on the streets of L.A., in the parks, apartments, and rental chalets. You can smell the fruity beverages and feel the ruffly fluff of the various pooches and kitties who dance across the pages.
I easily finished the book in three days on work breaks and much needed moments of relaxation after intense workouts.
You can pre-order your copy now and catch up on reading the previous two novels while you wait for the public release date in November 2021.
I asked Jennifer about her process for creating the Sassy Cat Mysteries. Here’s what she shared.
What I love about writing mysteries is creating the puzzle element. To keep readers (and myself!) guessing, I first surround Mimi with many potential suspects, who all have a viable motive. As the story continues, the culprit will organically be revealed.
So much of the fun in this series is the sassy cat, Marshmallow. His pet-owner connection with Mimi allows him to telepathically say whatever he wants, and I make sure to let his snarkiness shine. His words always come out totally unfiltered. I also try to heighten the comedy by putting Mimi in awkward situations where her cat is saying the sassiest of things, and she’s reacting out loud to him with other people around.
The Sassy Cat series is set in Los Angeles, so I try to include a lot of vibrant neighborhoods into the books. I make up some of the places, but others are real-life eateries and locations. My next Sassy Cat novel, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code, even takes a brief detour from the Los Angeles mainland to feature nearby picturesque Catalina Island.
Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award-nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries and the forthcoming Night Market Mysteries (Berkley/Penguin Random House). The first in the Sassy Cat series, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue, was selected as an Overdrive Recommended Read; a PopSugar Best Summer Beach Read; staff picks for Changing Hands Bookstore, Escondido Library, and Richland Library; and as one of BuzzFeed’s Top 5 Books by AAPI authors. Jennifer has also published other Asian-American novels involving secrets and mysteries. She’s active in Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Color, and Mystery Writers of America. Connect with her online at www.jenniferjchow.com.