Tuesday, June 13, 2023

A Fun Little Mystery


TITLE: Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers
AUTHOR: Jesse Q. Sutanto
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
PUBLISHING DATE: March 14, 2023
PAGES: 352   
SOURCE: Library


Put the kettle on, there’s a mystery brewing… 
Tea-shop owner. Matchmaker. Detective? 
Sixty-year-old self-proclaimed tea expert Vera Wong enjoys nothing more than sipping a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy ‘detective’ work on the internet (AKA checking up on her son to see if he’s dating anybody yet). 
But when Vera wakes up one morning to find a dead man in the middle of her tea shop, it’s going to take more than a strong Longjing to fix things. Knowing she’ll do a better job than the police possibly could – because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands – Vera decides it’s down to her to catch the killer.
Nobody spills the tea like this amateur sleuth. 

MY THOUGHTS: I have read Sutanto's Four Auntie's books and really enjoyed them, especially the first one, so I was excited to give this one a shot.  I will say that I'm not sure the exact mystery sub-genre because at times it feels cozy and at times, not so much.   However, there was plenty to love about this book without throwing it into a nice, neat category.

Vera runs a run-down tea shop and has her day down to a science.  She is so organized and OCD that she is almost annoying at times.  She is trying to control her son's life from afar, because he rarely stops by to visit, when one morning she opens her tea shop and finds a dead man right in the middle of it.  Vera is very quickly convinced the police have no idea what they are doing so she decides to withhold a tiny piece of evidence, in the form of a flash drive, and starts her own investigation.

Along the way Vera encounters her own list of suspects which include the dead man's twin brother, his wife whom he had just left, their daughter, and a young man and woman who both have their own reasons for wanting to know what exactly happened to the deceased.  

I came to love Vera and honestly, at the end this book turned into a found-family novel I didn't know I needed in my life. I quickly grew attached to all the characters and even though words cannot describe Vera, she is probably one of the most favorite characters I have encountered this year.  I felt the mystery was a tad bit predictable toward the end, but it did not take away from my reading enjoyment.

I don't know if this is going to be a series, but I do hope there is more Vera Wang in the future!

RATING: 5 paws


  1. This does sound like a fun one! I love quirky characters and Vera seems like a very memorable one. :D

  2. I'm glad this one was so great for you. The other reviews I have seen are positive also.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. This sounds really good. I don't know if this is technically a cozy or not but sometimes books like this are just comforting in a way!

  4. This sounds fantastic! I'll have to try this author one of these days.