Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto: A review
Vera is a teashop owner in San Francisco. It is not a popular teashop and in fact is rather dilapidated and without much charm but Vera takes pride in it nonetheless. She is a sixty-year-old widow with one grown son whom she rarely sees.
Vera lives above her teashop and one morning when she goes downstairs she finds the dead body of a man in her shop. The man lies with his arms outstretched and in one hand she finds a flash drive. On an impulse, she takes the flash drive and puts it in her pocket, and only then does she call the police.
The dead man had obviously been murdered and Vera is quite convinced that she will be more capable than the police of discovering his killer. After all, she reasons that it must be someone who comes to her shop and so all she has to do is be alert and investigate her customers and the truth will reveal itself.
In addition to Vera, there is a strong cast of supporting characters and we come to know the opinions and points of view of five of those characters while the main focus of the story always stays on Vera. There are twists and turns in the plot but we get to experience the culture of this group of Asian Americans and the importance to them of family relationships and personal boundaries.
The story was written with a light touch and a lot of humor. I often found myself smiling while reading it and sometimes laughing out loud. I don't know if the author has plans for a series featuring Vera, but a reader can hope!