Monday, September 29, 2014

Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials-Ovidia Yu

Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials
Ovidia Yu
Morrow, Sep 30 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062338327

In Singapore, after her husband died leaving Rosie “Aunty” Lee a wealthy widow; she decided becoming the idle rich was not her thing.  Instead she opened up Aunty Lee's Delights catering business, which proved popular.  Currently she caters a gala at the luxurious home of affluent Henry and Mabel Sung; though Aunty Lee heard rumors on the street the power couple is in financial trouble.  

At the house, she overhears the hosts vehemently arguing.  Soon afterward, Mabel and her son Leonard are found dead from food poisoning.  The police consider a murder-suicide, but soon blame the deaths on Aunty Lee failing to prepare her famous stewed chicken using potentially dangerous buah keluak nuts incorrectly.  Rejecting the cops’ accusation as she has made that entrée many times, Aunty Lee looks into the deaths as a murder instead of negligible homicide.  She begins to find a connection between the Sung family and the organ donor scandal that has angered the city.

The second Aunty Lee Singapore murder investigation (see Aunty Lee's Delights) is a delightful amateur sleuth starring an energetic gutsy widow.  Once again the heroine adapts her recipe-creating skill to her inquiry as she tries to save her cooking reputation with help from her sidekick Nina who warned her about serving the apparently deadly dish.  Although the organ trafficking subplot is underplayed and contradictory to the overall brisk tone of the storyline, readers will want to join Aunty Lee’s special tour of Singapore.

Harriet Klausner

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