Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials: A Singaporean Mystery

Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials: A Singaporean Mystery

by Ovidia Yu


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Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home cooking restaurant, is back in another delectable, witty mystery involving scandal and murder among the city’s elite.

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation involving prominent citizens makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung at their opulent house.

Rumor has it that the Sung’s fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sung’s house, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is a storage house she discovers locked? What is the couple arguing about behind closed doors? Where is the guest of honor who never showed up?

Then, Mabel Sung and her son Leonard are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. Aunty Lee has never carelessly prepared a dish. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal.

To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer whose next victim may just be Aunty Lee.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Yu’s energetic second Singaporean mystery (after 2013’s Aunty Lee’s Delights), prosperous widow and self-professed busybody Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the owner of Aunty Lee’s Delights, gets hired to cater a party celebrating attorney Sharon Sung’s new partnership in Sung Law. Sharon’s mother, Mabel Sung, the firm’s proprietor, ask Aunty Lee to bring a chicken dish made from seeds that are poisonous unless specially prepared. Midway through the party, Mabel and her beloved son, Leonard, whose health has been comprised by drug addiction, are found dead next to each other. Though authorities attribute the deaths to a mother’s mercy killing and suicide, Aunty Lee’s Delights is closed pending a health investigation. Sensing foul play, Aunty Lee probes the Sungs’ family conflicts, financial woes, and possible connection to the illegal trafficking of human organs. Aunty Lee and her social circle are as vibrantly colorful as the locale, more than making up for a sometimes repetitive investigation. Agent: Priya Doraswamy, Lotus Lane Literary. (Oct.)

New York Post

For her second Aunty Lee novel, Yu has cooked up another tasty mystery.

New York Post

For her second Aunty Lee novel, Yu has cooked up another tasty mystery.

Library Journal

Lovable busybody Aunty Lee is back in her second Singaporean mystery (after Aunty Lee's Delights). She's been hired to cater an event for the prominent Sung family, who requested a buffet of traditional Peranakan food, including buah keluak, a dish that can be lethal if not prepared properly. When matriarch Mabel Sung and her sickly son Leonard are found dead during the party, Aunty Lee quickly becomes a scapegoat as the Sungs accuse her of food poisoning. With her business shut down until the investigation is resolved, Aunty Lee has plenty of time on her hands to find out what really happened. Plus there's an illegal organ donation scandal that needs some looking into as well. Following her naturally nosy instincts and pretending to be a helpless old woman, Aunty Lee gossips and wheedles her way to some answers.
Verdict Mma Ramotswe and Miss Marple would consider Aunty Lee a kindred spirit, and cozy mystery readers will find much to like in this series, especially the unique food and locale of Singapore.—Melissa DeWild, Kent Dist. Lib., Comstock Park, MI

(c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews

A possible poisoning on the job doesn't just pique Aunty Lee's interest, but becomes a matter of professional life and death. A handful of crime-related newspaper articles establishes a creepy pulse for the story that follows. Plump "supercook" Aunty Lee bustles to prepare for a big catering job with her maid, Nina, and her new partner, Cherril, who plans to take over and expand Aunty Lee's wine sideline if her stuffy husband, Mycroft, permits it. Meanwhile, the atmosphere at Sung Law, whose celebration Aunty Lee is catering, is far from festive. CEO Mabel Sung requires her daughter, Sharon, who's just made partner, to address her as Mrs. Sung, not "Mum." Mabel dotes on her son, Leonard, who's mentally impaired after years of drug abuse. It's Henry, the father of the two, who offers the most hands-on help to Aunty Lee. A controversial menu item is the chicken stew buah keluak, made with seeds that are poisonous if improperly prepared. When Mabel and Lennie are late coming downstairs, tongues wag, and ambitious secretary GraceFaith goes to check on them. She finds them both dead, shells from the buah keluak all over the floor. Was their last meal an act of compassion by the controlling Mabel, or were they murdered by Aunty Lee's spicy, dicey dish? Curiosity would prompt Aunty Lee to probe anyway, but the threat to her livelihood makes her sleuthing a necessity, even if she ruffles the feathers of courtly Inspector Salim Mawar. This delicious sophomore entry in Yu's sassy series (Aunty Lee's Delights, 2013) has the quaint accessibility, colorful characters and quotidian detail of a traditional cozy but also a slyly bracing edge.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062338327
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Series: Aunty Lee Series , #2
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 611,711
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)

Customer Reviews