Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Book Review: Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: March 14, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."





Vera Wong owns a tea shop in San Francisco's Chinatown. Her son is grown and has a life of his own, so the tea shop is her world. Until one day, a man ends up dead in her shop. She finds him when she is opening the store and swipes his strange flash drive. After meeting with the police, she realizes that they don't seem to care about this dead man who was, according to Vera, clearly murdered. So, she takes it upon herself to figure out what happened and according to Vera there is nobody who can do it better than a Chinese mother. Jesse Q. Sutanto's Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is a delightful novel that is equal parts comedy and cozy mystery. 

Vera is a character I absolutely loved from the start of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers. She is quirky, boundary breaking, inappropriate at times, and has the best intentions. I absolutely loved this about her and thought she was so entertaining. Her lists she created to hunt down the killer were hilarious. Specifically the first half of the novel was so much fun, because Vera is so lovable despite her ability to make questionable decisions.

The "found family" in Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was another heartwarming aspect of the novel. They really come together, thanks to Vera, to figure out why a man named Marshall  Chen ended up dead in Vera's shop. There's Marshall's twin brother, his widow, a reporter, and a podcast host. Each character is hiding their own secrets or complicated backstory and it was fun to get to know each one of them and their connection to Marshall. Sutanto jumps from character to character's point of view and it definitely had me guessing what happened to Marshall.

I read both the book and listened to the audio version and I have to say I preferred the audio. It was outstanding and the narrator really brought to life Vera. Also, the descriptions of Chinatown, the tea in Vera's shop, and the food were fantastic. It made me feel like I was in Chinatown with them.

While the murder mystery aspect of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers wasn't entirely believable and a tad melodramatic at times, I still enjoyed Vera's story and uncovering the truth surrounding the murder. The big reveal wasn't entirely what I was expecting and a bit over-the-top, but this is to be expected in a cozy mystery. So, if you enjoy a cozy mystery with some laugh out loud hijinks, look no further! 

Are you a fan of Jesse Q. Sutanto? I hope to read Dial A for Aunties next. Let me know in the comments below if you have read Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers or if it's on your TBR list.



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