Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

by Jesse Q. Sutanto

read by Eunice Wong

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

by Jesse Q. Sutanto
read by Eunice Wong

Review posted August 5, 2023.
Books on Tape, 2023. 10 hours, 40 minutes.
Review written July 26, 2023, from a library eaudiobook.
Starred Review
2023 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#5 Fiction

Here's a delightful cozy murder mystery with a modern Miss Marple as the sleuth. But instead of knitting, Vera Wong is an expert in teas. She lives alone in San Francisco's Chinatown above the tea shop she established with her late husband, "Vera Wang's World-Famous Tea House." She gets up at 4:30 every morning, texts her lawyer son, and goes for a brisk walk before spending her day in the shop. Unfortunately, Vera only ever has one customer, a lonely old man whose wife is bedridden. But Vera always concocts the perfect tea for him.

Then, one morning, there's a dead body in her shop, with the shop window broken. Vera calls the police and leaves things as she finds them -- well, aside from cleaning up the broken glass. And drawing an outline around the body. And, well, taking a flash drive out of the dead man's hand.

The police don't do anything like Vera has seen happen on CSI. They don't seem to take the murder seriously at all. They don't even take fingerprints or look for DNA evidence! So Vera figures she's going to have to investigate herself. She cleverly puts an obituary in the paper right away, being sure to mention that the body was found at Vera Wang's World-Famous Tea Shop. Sure enough -- the next day four people show up at the tea shop, and Vera has her suspects.

This is where the unsolicited advice comes in. Vera meets the dead man's wife and daughter, as well as his twin brother. And two young people who claim to be journalists. And, naturally, she gets to know them, serves them tea, and gives them unsolicited advice.

What follows is a delightful story as a lonely and interfering old lady investigates a murder - and finds a family. Except there's that little problem that one member of her new family is likely the murderer. Which one? Vera is certainly clever enough to find out!

I had given up expecting murder mysteries to be amazingly heartwarming! This one's delightful.