Oct 8, 2014

Book Review: Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

Title: Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu
Published September 30, 2014; William Morrow
Genre: mystery

Publisher description:
Aunty Lee’s Delights, a restaurant in Singapore run by Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow and amateur sleuth, is catering a brunch for socialites Henry and Mabel Sung. But soon after arriving at the Sungs’, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Where is the missing guest of honor? 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. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to an organ donor scandal. To save her business, she’s got to unmask a dangerous killer.
Sharon scooped up some of the buah keluak gravy in a spoon and tasted it.
"Why did you do that? Isn't that for Lennie?" GraceFaith stepped up.
"I always taste food I'm serving," Sharon said. "It's a personal rule. Then nobody can blame me if something's wrong with it."
"I do the same thing!" Aunty Lee said.
(p. 63)
My comments: It's always nice to find out about another kind of cuisine, the good and the bad, or in this case, the bad that can happen if you don't prepare a food properly. The buah keluak nut is the culprit in this mystery set in Singapore. It reminded me of the puffer fish that is a delicacy in Japan, good only if you can prepare it minus its poison. It also reminded me of the akee fruit in the West Indies that is poisonous if eaten or cooked before the seed pod has opened.

Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials has included more than ill timed food, however. The book adds an organ donor scandal as part of the murder plot.

Exotic in flavor (food and setting) and intriguing in plot, Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials is a book that mystery readers will really enjoy.

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore’s most acclaimed writers. She has had more than thirty plays produced and the author of a number of mysteries. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Iowa’s International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore. Connect with her through Facebook Twitter. 

For more reviews, check out the tour schedule by TLC Book Tours.
I received a review copy of the book through the tour and publisher.


  1. I'm in the middle of this and really enjoying it! I read the first book and just had to read the second. :)

  2. I think my wife would like this as she likes the culinary - mystery combination. I will pass this recommendation on to here.

    I think that there was an old Colombo episode where someone was murdered by poison puffer fish.

  3. I'm looking forward to getting to know Aunty Lee - she sounds like QUITE a character!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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