Sunday, December 6, 2020

Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines


Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines is the second book in the Sassy Cat cozy mystery series by Jennifer J. Chow. Released 10th Nov 2020 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 320 pages and available in paperback, library large print, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is an entertainingly fluffy cozy murder mystery with a strong romance subplot. The writing is light and engaging and the character driven plot is breezy and whimsical. For readers who enjoy anthropomorphic cats (is there a proper subgenre for that?) this series has them in spades. Pet groomer, Mimi Lee, owner of Hollywoof, spends part of her days grooming pets and a fair bit of time solving unpleasant murders with her genetically enhanced telepathic cat Marshmallow riding shotgun. He's got a sarcastic, wisecracking, old-guy schtick going on which some readers will enjoy (and some will not). He speaks to Mimi telepathically, but she speaks to him audibly, which leads to some inevitable "who are you talking to" scenes in the book. The significant plot threads concerning Marshmallow and the mad scientist/shady project responsible for her augmented cat (and his kitten sidekick) take up roughly half the book. Since it's a series, the unfolding information about how her psychic cat (and kitten Nimbus) came to be, provide continuity from book to book. Although it's a series, it works well enough as a standalone read. The author is adept at providing the necessary backstory without info dumping to an annoying degree.

The mystery itself is outlandish and unnecessarily convoluted, but readers who enjoy talking cats (including me) won't find it impossible to read and enjoy. The denouement was maybe a bit telegraphed and oddly resolved, but all in all, satisfying. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy the subgenre. The language is clean and there's no scandalous or disturbing content. My only annoyance came from a minor plot element which could've been resolved a *lot* more easily and cleanly by the simple expedient of a direct question to the main character's father. (My eyes were rolling). 

Four stars, will probably delight talking-cat-cozy-mystery fans. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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