Aunty Lee’s Delights: A Singaporean Mystery is indeed a delight brought to us by author Ovidia Yu. I was not familiar with Yu but it seems she is an accomplished writer with plays, children’s books and one other mystery novel, Miss Moorthy Investigates, to her credit.
The story revolves around Aunty Lee, an elderly widow who runs a cafe in Singapore. Although her eyesight is failing, very little gets past this super-sharp lady. She is both nosy and caring, and evaluates how to help people by what she thinks they need to eat. When a body is found washed up on a nearby beach, Aunty Lee is filled with curiosity. The victim turns out to be a member of the wine-dining club she and her stepson have been hosting to help his fledgling wine business and nothing can stop Aunty Lee from investigating. In fact, she is soon directing the police’s efforts to solve the case.
I hope this is the beginning of a series because I would definitely like to get to know Aunty Lee and the rest of her family better. I especially liked her maid/companion Nina and police officer Salim. Aunty Lee’s stepson Mark and his wife Selina seem likely to be regular characters, too.
I know absolutely nothing about Singapore, so it would have been nice if there had been a little information on the culture. Yu lives in Singapore and is writing from the point of everyday life for her. It would have been nice if the publisher had included some background in the U.S. edition of the book. I am not a cook, but for once I wish a few recipes had been included. Food played a fairly significant part in the story, but I had no idea what Aunty Lee was feeding everyone. I reviewed a free uncorrected advance copy, so it is possible that some additional information will be available either in the books themselves or on the publisher’s website once the book is released for sale.