Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q Sutanto
Published by Berkley on March 14, 2023
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
How hard can it be to solve the case of the murdered body in her tea shop? Vera’s got experience after all. Like any self-respecting Asian mother she’s had tabs on her son’s life. Jesse Sutanto does it again with her winning writing style and plot full of all the mischief and mayhem a reader can want.
Vera Wong lives alone above her small tea shop, snooping online to keep an eye on her son and the modern times, and distributing her own brand of Asian wisdom with her tea. Her monotonous life gets a charge when she finds the dead body in her shop. The police aren’t the exciting cops from the TV dramas and she decides to take the case especially since she might have swiped a primary bit of evidence from the body after she called the police. It must be one of the people who came into the shop afterwards who are looking for that thumb drive she found on the body.
Vera’s antics in working the case are her own and, while investigating her chief suspects, she gets to know them and rather likes them. Her days are colorful and interesting, but someone did murder and that somebody has to be getting desperate.
I read the Dial A for Aunties duo and Vera has that spirited, over the top, hilarious old lady Asian charm going for her that reminded me strongly of the Aunties. But, in this case, Vera is the main perspective and like one of the Aunties so I had all the fun of being inside her head and getting her point of view. She’s pushy, bossy, nosey, and makes up the rules when she feels she must, but she’s also caring and interested in others. I loved that she went from lonely to pulling a fun band of people about her through her new detecting project.
I worked out some bits of the mystery, but not who the killer was. I didn’t feel sorry for Marshal the victim, and I was really hoping it was none of her new friends. In truth, I just sat back and got a kick out of Vera.
All in all, it was meant to be fun and light. It fits with the cozy mystery feel so I’ll recommend it to those who enjoy that genre and especially with some foodie, some tea, and lots of Asian auntie to go around.
This sounds charming and I wanted to read the first book, too. I need to hurry and catch up before I fall behind and never read them!
Vera’s a hoot. I’d want to drop something in her tea if she were my pestering mom, but fictional character, oh yeah. The earlier books are a different series so you could grab this one separately if you’d like, Jen.
Like Jen said….this sounds charming!!!
Vera is something else. Good times, Carole! 🙂
This sounds like a fun read. It’s been a while since I read a cozy mystery, but I used to love those.
I don’t read cozies as often as others, but Vera Wong is a fab one. I loved the humor and the way Vera made a close family group of her tea shop customers.
Vera’s antics and spirited quirkiness sounds very fun. I’m looking forward to reading this one.
Total treat, Lark! The humor got me, but there is a lot of heart in the story, too.
Vera cracked me up! The author’s mom did a couple of reels on Instagram acting out Vera and it’s funny! Glad to see you had fun with this one, too, Sophia!
I really must go hunt those down now. Haha! Vera was off the hook fun, Rachel.
Vera sounds like such a fantastic character, Sophia. One that you can clearly read about as you tag along in her adventures. It’s also pretty great that the murderer wasn’t obvious in this case, that must’ve kept you invested in the mystery! Great review and thanks for sharing! 🙂
She really was, Lashaan. She had me laughing so hard and I really liked her suspects so it kept me from really wanting to find out the truth. 🙂
I keep hearing great things about this book! Its on my TBR. I need to get to it soon.
Oh good! You will definitely have a good time with this one, Wendy.
I had such a lovely time with this. Vera was a hoot.
You said it. I have a little wish that there can be more stories. 🙂
That sounds fun. Swiping the flash drive was a little crazy though.
Yeah, gutsy move there and so Vera. She makes up her own rules sometimes. 🙂
I absolutely loved this one though I was pretty glad I don’t know Vera Wong in real life. She sounds exhausting though I would love to try some of her food! I had the same feeling about not wanting any of the new friends to be the killer.
Oh, I know. If my mom had tried to call me before the sun was up on any morning, I’d have either pulled the phone line out of the wall or at the very least, taken the phone off the hook. LOL
This looks like lots of fun! I’m adding it to my tbr. I like a good cozy!
It sure was, Victoria. Glad to enable your TBR pile. 🙂
This sounds like a fun read! I like the sound that she makes friends during the investigation and I hope none of her new friends were the murderer, although I do actually like that twist in cozies as I rarely suspects the friends. That’s neat you figured some parts out, but not who the killer was. The mystery sounds like one that keeps you guessing.
I was really hoping it would be some random person whom she didn’t make friends with. 🙂 But, not likely, right?
Fun one, Lola!
I had such a good time with Vera! I couldn’t help but laugh at some sections and I really enjoyed seeing the group come together to form a family.
She was too much, but so enjoyable. 🙂 Yes, her found family of friends was great.
oh wow this one just sounds so fun to read! It sounds like it had such great family bonds being built. I can see how this one would appeal to cozy mystery fans.
Yes, exactly so, Renee!