Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutano

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers
Book Summary

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?
My Thoughts

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Suntato is not what I expected.   I did not like the perspective (it was odd). The author’s writing style made for an awkward story.  It makes for a slow-moving story with repetitive details.  There are multiple points of view (five).   We get these detailed backstories on each person (I really did not need to know that much about each character).  With the multiple points-of-view, it leads to a significant amount of repetition.  I do not need the details of the case told to me five times.  Vera Wong is made out to be an elderly woman with a strong personality.  Vera is only in her sixties (the closer I get to that age the less it seems old).  She is still active as proven by her morning powerwalks.  Vera is a woman of strong opinions.  She is a widow with a grown son who largely ignores his mother.   The book moves at a snail’s pace.  The story needed action and excitement.   

We are privy to each character’s backstory, thoughts, and feelings.  Two-year-old Emma was a baffling character.   The author gives her characteristics of an older child (talks in complete sentences and can do detailed drawings instead of scribbles).  Vera is excited when she finds a dead man in her tea shop.  The police are not happy with Vera’s assistance.  I was surprised that some of her actions did not find her behind bars.  I believe the police wrote off Vera as a silly, interfering old woman.  The mystery was simple.  It felt as if more pages were devoted to Vera’s thoughts and ideas than the actual case.  The reveal is long and drawn out.  There is a “twist” which may or may not surprise readers (it depends on how many mysteries you have read).  I ended up skimming to get through the story.  I did like the ending.  The investigation brings new friends and changes to Vera’s life.  The story was too long (350 pages) especially for such a straightforward whodunit.  I found myself bored by Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murders.   There is some mild foul language (just to let you know).  I liked the setting of San Francisco’s Chinatown.  The author brought the area to life with her vivid word imagery.  Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers has an inquisitive tea shop owner, a slain stranger, curious suspects, stimulating strolls, a dispassionate detective, and a surprising solution.  

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is available from Amazon*.  While Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was not my cup of tea, I suggest you download a sample so you can if it suits you.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return on Tuesday, March 21 with Fields of Bounty by Lauraine Snelling.  It is the third novel in the Leah's Garden series.  I hope that you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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