Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto was such a joy to read. It’s a cozy murder-mystery that will warm your heart and make you laugh aloud. Vera Wong owns a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown and when a man ends up dead in her shop, she investigates. The tale that unfolds was, in a word, wonderful.
by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
A lonely shopkeeper takes it upon herself to solve a murder in the most peculiar way in this captivating mystery by Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties.
Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady--ah, lady of a certain age--who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco's Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera is not needy, oh no. She likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to.
Then one morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a curious thing--a dead man in the middle of her tea shop. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. Vera doesn't know what comes over her, but after calling the cops like any good citizen would, she sort of . . . swipes the flash drive from the body and tucks it safely into the pocket of her apron. Why? Because Vera is sure she would 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 knows the killer will be back for the flash drive; all she has to do is watch the increasing number of customers at her shop and figure out which one among them is the killer.
What Vera does not expect is to form friendships with her customers and start to care for each and every one of them. As a protective mother hen, will she end up having to give one of her newfound chicks to the police?
I am still grinning about this story. It’s an elevated cozy mystery that deals with family, friendship and the most ornery, loveable old women. I want to visit Vera Wang’s Famous Tea Shop and have Vera Wong fix me the perfect tea. If I am lucky, maybe she will feed me.
The tale begins by introducing us to Vera Wong, who lives alone above her teashop. We learn about her son, her day and, of course, her shop. I loved Vera from the start and chuckled at her antics. Her talk about young people had my sides hurting, and I easily related to her situation.
Vera is lonely and when she awakens to find a dead body in her shop, she calls the police. From the crime scene to her interactions with the police, I was hooked. Lord, she was hilarious. I want to have as much confidence as she does when I grow up.
When the police rule the death accidentally, Vera investigates. She placing an ad in the paper to catch the killer, keeps a journal and oh yeah, she might have withheld some evidence from the police.
Sutanto then introduces us to, as Vera would like to say, “the suspects.” First there is the widow, next is a young man claiming to be a reporter and a young woman who does a true crime podcast and one other. I loved getting to know each of them. All of them have secrets and it’s up to Vera to uncover them. Along the way, wonderful and not so wonderful things happen.
One part murder-mystery and one part friendship and made family. Vera brings this group of loners together. Foodie lovers will appreciate all the talk of food and meals Vera whips up during the “investigation”. I want to try everything Vera made. A little girl will steal your heart, as will Vera. I am truly hoping we see more of Vera.
This was my first time reading Jesse Q. Sutanto works, but it won’t be my last. Be sure to read the back matter and her message about this book and how it came to fruition. This is a book I would recommend to everyone. You’ll laugh, cry, solve a murder and meet lots of memorable characters. It’s bookshelf worthy.
Never miss a post by adding Caffeinated to your Inbox
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: