Aunty Lee’s Delights [Ovidia Yu]

Start Date: 8 December 2019

Finish Date: 11 December 2019

Source: Brooklyn Public Library ebook

Goodreads link.

Goodreads description:

This delectable and witty mystery introduces Rosie “Aunty” Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home cooking restaurant

After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could easily have become one of Singapore’s “tai tai,” an idle rich lady devoted to mah-jongg and luxury shopping. Instead she threw herself into building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee’s Delights, where spicy Singaporean home cooking is graciously served to locals and tourists alike. But when a body is found in one of Singapore’s beautiful tourist havens, and when one of her wealthy guests fails to show at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that the two are likely connected.

The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee’s henpecked stepson Mark, his social-climbing wife Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit-billed at first as a pleasure cruise-may mask a deeper purpose. Investigating the murder is rookie Police Commissioner Raja, who quickly discovers that the savvy and well-connected Aunty Lee can track down clues even better than local law enforcement.

Wise, witty and unusually charming, Aunty Lee’s Delights is a spicy mystery about love, friendship and home cooking in Singapore, where money flows freely and people of many religions and ethnicities co-exist peacefully, but where tensions lurk just below the surface, sometimes with deadly results.

Notes:

  • I got curious about this after seeing it (and Ovidia Yu’s other series) in Singapore bookshops. I’ve been super cheap this year about buying books, so it took me a long, long wait to get a library ebook copy.
  • Unfortunately, the wait wasn’t worth it. It’s nice as a book, but not very well done as a mystery. Maybe the later books and series get better, but this just wasn’t promising enough to try the later books.
  • One particular thing which grated – and which I’m guilty of too – is that we get to see the inner thoughts of more than one character. And pretty inconsistently. The narrator is a little too omniscient.
  • What I did like: Senior Staff Sergeant Salim was a great character, so was Nina the helper; and the possible romance between them was subtly done.
  • Aunty Lee is a Chinese Miss Marple.
  • The murders and their sequence were a bit too convoluted, and the stereotypes a little too broad. Still, it wasn’t a bad book. Just… meh.

 

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