Jennifer J. Chow says there are clues to her cozy mystery series across Southern California – Redlands Daily Facts

Editor’s Note: The books of mysterious and cozy writer Jennifer J. Chow are set in the Southern California landscape. We asked her if she wanted to share her thoughts on writing about the area and share a few titles that have taken her to some interesting places recently.

By Jennifer J. Chow

I came to Southern California to do graduate studies at UCLA.

At the time, I thought it would be temporary. I had heard of the horror stories of traffic and the intimidating anonymity of urban sprawl. However, the beautiful weather, along with the diverse cultural environment and a growing sense of community, quickly made me plant roots in the Los Angeles area.

As a natural result of the feeling of belonging, I ended up writing a whole series of cozy mysteries unfolding in this region. My Lefty Award-nominated Sassy Cat Mysteries features Los Angeles pet groomer Mimi Lee, who owns a shop called (what else?) Hollywoof. In the series, I play the Los Angeles vibe, and my latest novel, “Mimi Lee Cracks the Code,” which comes out November 30, has Mimi and her boyfriend Josh going on a romantic getaway to nearby Catalina Island. – although the trip is soon derailed by crime.

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I was swept away by its glamor side and indulged in celebrity sightings, walks along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and even a studio recording in direct. The first book in the series, “Mimi Lee Gets A Clue,” shows the brilliance of Southern California by highlighting the lavish Hollywood Hills homes, elaborate charity galas, and yoga (doga) classes for dogs.

I moved to the greater Los Angeles area before finally settling in the Beach Cities area. The location of Mimi Lee’s grooming salon is actually inspired by Hermosa Beach and its lovely surroundings. The second book in the series, “Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines,” features life by the beach, including a character who surfs and works at a store called All Tide Up.

  • Seen here on Catalina Island, the setting for one of her most recent novels, “Mimi Lee Cracks the Code,” Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries. (Courtesy of the author)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries featuring Los Angeles animal groomer Mimi Lee. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries featuring Los Angeles animal groomer Mimi Lee. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of Sassy Cat Mysteries and upcoming LA Night Market Mysteries. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries featuring Los Angeles animal groomer Mimi Lee. (Photo credit: Julie Daniels / Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries featuring Los Angeles animal groomer Mimi Lee. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries featuring Los Angeles animal groomer Mimi Lee. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

  • Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries featuring Los Angeles animal groomer Mimi Lee. (Photo credit: Julie Daniels / Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

A few years ago, I stayed in a vacation rental home on Catalina Island, which led to the storyline of “Mimi Lee Cracks the Code”. At the heart of my latest novel is a group of vacation home owners who reside on the mainland. I wanted each of them to have different personalities and live in different parts of the Los Angeles area. Characters include a professor from Brentwood, a technician from Santa Monica, and a horse lover from Palos Verdes. Catalina Island is a fascinating place, even beyond the casino’s magnificent iconic ballroom with its 50-foot ceilings and herds of roaming bison. The history of the island is fascinating, including a mysterious fire in 1915 that threatened to destroy the entire town of Avalon.

I like to put Southern California notes in my writing. In fact, in my next series, the LA Night Market Mysteries, I’m deliberately including some hidden spots in the area. Between the detective and running a food stall, the two main characters (they’re cousins, and one of them is from Hong Kong) set off on a trip to explore lesser-known places around LA. of the series, “Death by Bubble Tea,” will be released in July 2022 (and can be pre-ordered now).

I love living here and finding a community in Southern California. In fact, I managed to convince my husband to move here. I also recently recruited my father to come. However, if you can’t live in Los Angeles, you can definitely visit through my novels.

That’s the beauty of books. We can travel with a simple flip of the page. Here are a few recent books that transported me beyond Southern California to places of interest:

“Red dirt” by Scott Kikkawa: In the 1950s, O’ahu, Detective Sergeant Francis “Sheik” Yoshikawa of the Honolulu Police Department must uncover the secret of a burnt body in a sugar cane field.

Nancy Johnson’s ‘Sweetest Lie’: Ruth Tuttle, a black engineer trained in the Ivy-League, returns to her hometown in rural Indiana to make peace with her past. In the process, she confronts the complexities of motherhood, the American dream, and conflicts arising from race and class.

Tori Eldridge’s “The Betrayed Ninja”Modern-day Sino-Norwegian ninja Lily Wong travels to Hong Kong to visit her family, but soon finds herself embroiled in dangerous riots, murderous triads, and corporate intrigue.

Lyn Liao Butler’s “Mother Tiger Story”: When her ex-father unexpectedly dies, American Taiwanese Lexa Thomas must return to Taiwan and face family tragedies and secrets from the past.

Also on my reading list are these travel readings:

“How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days” by KM Jackson: When the tabloids report that Keanu Reeves is getting married, superfan Bethany Lu Carlisle goes on a road trip to end the marriage. With his BFF, Truman Erikson, by his side, it’s a romantic stroll that stretches from New York to Los Angeles.

“Sunny Song will never be famous” by Suzanne ParkSocial media influential American teenager Sunny Song is shipped from urban LA to rural Iowa for digital drug rehab after accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral.

Best wishes on all of your book reading and travel choices!


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