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Review: Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu

Title: Aunty Lee's Delights
Author: Ovidia Yu
Year Published: 2013

Genre: Adult mystery
Pages: 260
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2013 Google Reading map): Singapore

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review as part of a TLC Tour

Summary (from the back of the book): 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 throw 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.

Review: By the end of this book I quite enjoyed it, but it really took me quite a bit to get there. Partly this is because the opening couple of pages are in great need of an edit and it just threw me off (granted I did read an uncorrected proof). Another reason is that I read it over too much time. I think it would be better in just a couple sessions.

What I did like about the book:

  • It is set in Singapore. I definitely love reading books set outside the US and I've never read a book set in Singapore before. I especially like it when I can learn something about the country and I did in this book. I've been to Singapore, a very long time ago, but remember enjoying it.
  • It is a mystery. Mysteries are one of my favorite genres of books and I especially like it when the main character isn't an official detective or member of the police department. Aunty Lee certainly isn't and that is fun. The author managed to present Aunty Lee as a bit of a nosy neighbor whom people trust so she is a good character to help figure out a mystery that took place near her restaurant and involving people she has already met.
  • The mystery is well done though a bit involved. There are a lot of characters going off in different directions even though they are all connected. Again, reading this in just a couple sessions would have probably made it easier for me to remember who everyone was and their connections to one another.
All in all not my favorite mystery ever, but a fun read.

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