Review Blog

Sep 08 2020

Aunty Lee's delights by Ovidia Yu

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Singaporean Mystery book 1. HarperCollins, 2013. ISBN: 9780062227157. 288pp.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. A perfect book for mystery lovers to read in these troubled times, Aunty Lee's delights introduces the intelligent Rosie Lee, who owns a restaurant in Singapore featuring her delicious home cooking. When two young women who had dined at one of her dinner parties are murdered, she turns her hand at solving the mystery, with the aid of her domestic Nina and Police Commissioner Raja.
The large cast of people involved are introduced at another dinner party as well as the spicy food she prepares. There is her stepson Mark and his rather obnoxious wife Selina, Lucy and Frank Cunningham, an elderly couple visiting from Australia, Harry Sullivan an expat trying to make his way in Singapore, and an American looking for the two young women. Interwoven are descriptions of the mouth-watering Singaporean food, which is an integral part of the plot.
This could be described as belonging to the cosy section of the mystery genre. There are no lingering descriptions of the murders, other than a memorable section when one of the bodies was discovered in the water. The story concentrates on Aunty Lee's preoccupation with solving the mystery of the deaths. As she says, if people have eaten her food, she considers them as family. Themes of gay love, the treatment of foreign domestics, and women striving to climb the social ladder are all dealt with subtly and with compassion.
Easy to read, with often amusing asides, this was an enjoyable story with a great setting, diverse characters and lots of food! I am sure to pick up more by this author.
Pat Pledger

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