Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

An Interview with Jennifer J. Chow by E. B. Davis


When murder follows Mimi Lee to her romantic island getaway, she puts on her best sleuthing hat with her sassy cat in tow in this adventurous cozy mystery by Jennifer J. Chow.
Mimi Lee just found an extra perk to being a pet groomer at Hollywoof (other than cuddling animals all day long, that is). Pixie St. James, one of Mimi’s clients and the investor behind Hollywoof, has offered her and her boyfriend, Josh, a getaway at her vacation home, nestled on beautiful Catalina Island. With the island just outside of Los Angeles but still far enough from the hustle and bustle, Mimi, Josh, and their cat Marshmallow (who, of course, wouldn’t be caught dead in a dingy pet hotel) are excited for their relaxing stay.
That is, until Pixie’s last renter, Davis D. Argo, turns up dead. Mimi and Josh’s romantic getaway immediately turns into an enormous buzzkill, especially when Pixie asks Mimi for help. The police suspect Pixie, and Mimi knows a thing or two about wrongful allegations. Mimi figures it couldn’t hurt to snoop a little since she’s already there, and soon discovers that a valuable item is missing. Except Pixie isn’t the only one in the neighborhood who has been robbed. There is something strange happening on the island, and Mimi won’t stop until she finds out what it is.

After reading Jennifer J. Chow’s new Sassy Cat mystery, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code, I saw that my Kindle Notes had over thirty questions. I will try not to ask her all of them, but the action alternates between LA and Catalina Island, so there’s a lot of territory to cover and a lot of clues for Mimi to investigate. All the while Mimi’s mother plays matchmaker to Mimi’s younger sister, Alice, and Mimi and Josh experience their first relationship crisis.


Due to Jennifer’s new responsibilities at Sisters in Crime, she will no longer blog with WWK. But we hope she comes back to visit often.                                               E. B. Davis


You mentioned that Hollywoof has a Bark of Fame, which holds the image of Lassie’s paw prints. What other canine stars are on the walkway? Toto is definitely on the walkway. As for other canines, I’m definitely open to suggestions!


What is a dabbing dog?

The dabbing dog refers to an image of a dog doing a dance called the dab. It’s where you drop your head in the crook of one arm and raise the other arm at an upward angle.

Pixie is known for her homemade unusual drinks. What types of drinks does she make? I’ve never seen a mother-of-pearl table top let alone an entire bar. Are they really a thing?

In the previous books, Pixie has made a blue tea with butterfly pea flower, a frothy green lime drink, and a refreshing iced tea with hand-picked garden herbs. I found mother-of-pearl tables online, and I wanted to extend that luxury to Pixie’s bar.


What is piping hot roti? Is that rotini?

Roti is short for roti canai. It’s a type of flatbread found in Southeast Asia. A side of curry for dipping usually accompanies the bread.


Does shiok mean good?

Shiok means good or enjoyable or delicious (when applied to food).

Alice, on summer break from teaching, is binging on Korean dramas. Are they readily available on TV? Or is there a subscriber channel? I’ve never heard of Korean dramas.

Korean dramas (or K-dramas) can be found on certain TV channels or streamed online.

How is Catalina pronounced?

Catalina is pronounced kat-uh-lee-nuh (although Marshmallow likes to emphasize the cat sound in the word).


What does pakat mean?

Pakat means to agree on doing something together in advance.

Mimi and Alice had a “no dating” rule in high school imposed upon them by their parents? If that’s the case, hasn’t their mother gone from one extreme to the other?

In high school, the parents wanted to protect their teenagers. Now that Mimi and Alice both in their 20s and inching toward 30, it’s a different story—especially for their mother.


Is sending a vCard like sending someone a contact? What is it?

Yes, a vCard is a virtual contact file. It’s like an electronic business card that you can send as a file.


Don’t the police have to reveal why they have jurisdiction?

Police usually have jurisdiction over crimes that happen in their geographic territory. For example, Catalina Island has its own department that is contracted with the Sheriff’s Department of Los Angeles County. A long time ago, though, I believe they had their own private police patrol.


Mimi discovers that a scarf once owned by Marilyn Monroe was stolen from Pixie’s rental house. It, along with other retro items, was used to decorate the house. I hadn’t known that Marilyn Monroe lived on Catalina Island when she was younger. What were the circumstances?

Yes, Marilyn Monroe (or rather, Norma Jeane) moved to Catalina Island with her first husband, Jim Dougherty. A merchant marine, he was stationed there for a year.

Josh agrees to accompany Mimi to Catalina and stay with her at Pixie’s rental house. But after a comment about their being “lovebirds,” Josh shies away from Mimi and buries himself in work. What were Mimi’s expectations? Are they moving too fast?

I think Mimi wanted a nice romantic getaway, to spend time with each other. She wasn’t expecting to compete with his job during their couple’s outing.


Why are fireworks illegal on Catalina Island?

Catalina has its own official fireworks show. Other fireworks are illegal on the island due to fire risk.


During Mimi’s investigation, she must enter a park that doesn’t allow cats so she can’t take Marshmallow with her. How does anyone keep cats from entering a park?

I think it’s more that Mimi doesn’t want to keep an eye on Marshmallow while investigating. There are, though, a lot of migratory birds who go to that specific local park. 

Who was Carl Rogers? What is the active listening therapeutic model? Mimi was a psychology major, wasn’t she?

Carl Rogers was a humanistic psychologist who emphasized acceptance and empathy. His active listening method involved focusing on the other person and included paraphrasing and reflecting back feelings. Yes, Mimi was an undergrad psychology major at UCLA.  

When Mimi finds out that Josh’s paralegal named Gertrude is a young blonde, she also realizes that Gertrude is after Josh. What is Mimi’s reaction?

Mimi was shocked. She didn’t think of Gertrude as a threat to her relationship with Josh, but soon afterward, Marshmallow dubs Gertrude the “para-lethal.”


Although Detective Brown does give Mimi a few hints about the case, the real information comes from his cat. How does Mimi get the information?

It’s very helpful that Mimi has Marshmallow who can talk to his fellow cats. Cat-to-cat communication gives them a lot of helpful tips for this case.

Is ninety percent of communication nonverbal?

I don’t know if it’s actually true, but some studies have indicated that ninety percent of communication is nonverbal.

How does eight-eight-eight sound like “fortune” times three?

In Chinese, the word for “eight” sounds a lot like the word for “fortune.” Thus, eight times three is triple the fortune!

When their mother gets into an online chat room for those of Chinese Malaysian heritage, she arranges for Alice to meet a possible match, but his mother wants to meet Alice first. Mimi goes with her. The women find the mother is prejudiced, calling them “jook sing” or hollow bamboo. What does that mean?

Jook sing is a phrase that I’ve heard used in a derogatory way. It refers to Chinese Americans who are so Westernized that even though they have a bamboo exterior, there’s a hollowness on the inside. 


Do those who are half of one race and half of another always feel inadequate? The mother’s judgment really affects Mimi by giving her a negative perspective on herself.

I think people have different experiences of being biracial. Some friends I know, though, do find it difficult to really claim an identity or fit in at times.


Do scented shampoos bother dogs? They have such a strong sense of smell.

Good question. I think it depends on the dog. There are definitely different scented puppy shampoos on the market: lavender, coconut, baby powder, apple, berry, and so on.


What are snow bowls? Why does Mimi choose medicinal dark grass jelly as one of her toppings? I can kind of understand condensed milk, mango chunks, and sweet potato balls since they are all sweet, but grass jelly?

Snow bowls are a type of dessert that’s made with a mound of finely shaved ice. Toppings are added to create a customized flavor. Grass jelly is an acquired taste since it has an herbal, slightly bitter flavor. Some people like how it counterbalances the sweetness (like in desserts and with bubble tea). It also has cooling properties and antioxidants.


Mimi bounces legal questions off Josh, who informs her that there is no such thing as having to wait forty-eight hours before reporting someone as missing. Is that true?

When I researched this, interestingly, there isn’t a wait period, particularly for law enforcement agencies in California. Forty-eight hours, though, is crucial for figuring out what happened to the missing person.


When Mimi and Alice go to a Korean tofu stew place, Mimi asks for a raw egg to be dropped in hers. Does the egg cook?

Usually, the tofu stew is so hot and bubbly that the egg will cook in the broth. (Some restaurants may also offer pasteurized eggs for customers.)


What’s next for Mimi and Marshmallow?

Depending on what happens on sales with Book 3, Mimi and Marshmallow will either go forth on another adventure or get a break from their sleuthing activities.



Jim Jackson said...

Fingers crossed your sales FORCE your publisher to offer you a contract for books 4-6!

Susan said...

I love your titles! Here’s hoping you have lots of sales in this new year.

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a great book, and I right now could use some fiction set on a warm California island.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your latest release and may you have many more.

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Jim!

Choosing great titles is always fun, Susan!

Thanks, KM! It's a little chilly in SoCal today, though...

Thank you for the support, Margaret!

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Happy to be on WWK today. Thanks for the interview, E.B.!

Kait said...

I love your covers!

The newest Mimi sounds like an interesting read. Especially the cultural references. My husband lived in Korea for three years. As a result, we have a very international pantry. The food is fabulous.

I’d love to nominate Rin Tin Tin for inclusion on the walk of fame, and Longstreet’s dog Pax. For those of you too young to remember – the series aired for one season in 1971 - Longstreet was an insurance investigator who was blinded by a bomb in a champagne bottle. Pax was his seeing eye dog, a white German Shepherd.

Molly MacRae said...

We'll miss you on WWK, Jennifer, but I know you'll do a great job for Sisters in Crime. And we've got your books to read. Fantastic!

Shari Randall said...

Great interview, Jen! I was lucky enough to read the first in Jen's upcoming new series, DEATH BY BUBBLE TEA, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fingers crossed that we get more Mimi and Yale in the coming years!

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Thank you, Kait! An international pantry sounds delicious. Thanks also for the dog nominations!

Will miss you, Molly, and the whole WWK community!

Shari--thank you so much! So happy you got to read an early copy of my next book!