Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Format: Kindle ARC
No. of Pages: 352
Date of Publication: March 14, 2023
My Rating: 5 Stars
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?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vera Wong is a sexagenarian - not a little old lady in my view - whose once busy tea shop has only one customer. A customer with an ailing wife and who can only visit for scant moments. One day, when Vera heads downstairs to the tea shop, she makes a shocking discovery. There is a dead man lying on the floor of her shop.
Vera is no wilting flower. In fact, even before she calls the police, she takes specific measures because she immediately has decided in her mind to figure out who the man is and why he was killed in her shop. Not only do the police soon arrive, but no less than four different individuals who have never once visited her shop show up soon thereafter.
Her logic tells her that one of the four of these strangers must be the killer. With tasty food and good company, Vera gets to know these four individuals, and these include the victim’s wife and his twin brother Oliver. For the first time in her lonely life, Vera dons the hat of an amateur sleuth. As far as she is concerned, the police aren’t doing enough and considering the body was found in her shop, she is doing exactly what she should be doing.
What a charming story. Vera was easy to love, as were her four new “friends”. I felt like I was arm in arm with Vera as she sought answers. With the chapters alternating in POVs, this was definitely an engaging and easy read. One thing is for certain: I am about to go make a cup of tea.
Many thanks to Berkley Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.