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.
I absolutely loved this book and especially Vera, although I probably wouldn’t want her as an interfering mother. However as a character she was as delightful as her teas sounded.
It all started off simple enough with a slightly decrepit tea shop with little to no customers and meeting a very opinionated Vera, until the next morning when she goes downstairs and discovers a body. I did have to laugh when Vera, trying to get ahead of the police, outlined his body with a Sharpie but she has also taken a piece of evidence from the victim and not told Officers Ha and Gray.
After placing an obituary, Riki a fake journalist, Sana a fake podcaster, Julia the victims wife with their daughter Emma and Oliver his twin brother appear at the tea shop and start asking questions leading Vera to put them on her list of suspects and start asking questions of her own.
It really says something about an author when they cleverly twist the narrative and you find yourself hating the victim and loving the suspects. However that is exactly what Jesse has done with this murder mystery. I didn’t want any of them to be revealed as the killer and instead I was more than happy to sit back and watch Vera turn matchmaker instead.
This was also surprisingly emotional, with Vera obviously being quite lonely, and how these strangers soon became her people and the relationship between her and Emma was especially touching.
This had me drooling at the food descriptions, laughing at Vera’s antics and drinking copious amounts of tea while I tried to solve the mystery along with Vera and her new friends/suspects. A hugely entertaining book and I hope there will be more.
About the author
Jesse Q. Sutanto is the author of adult, YA, and children’s middle grade books. She has an MSt in Creative Writing from Oxford University and a BA in English Lit from Berkeley, though she hasn’t found a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. The film rights to her women’s fiction, Dial A for Aunties, was bought by Netflix in a competitive bidding war. Her adult books include Dial A for Aunties, its sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding, and Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers. Her YA books include The Obsession, The New Girl, and Well, That Was Unexpected. Her MG books include Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit and its sequel, Theo Tan and the Iron Fan. Find her on Twitter @thewritinghippo and on Instagram @jesseqsutanto.
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