Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

Yummily murderous

About Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu: Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow and 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 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. Rumor has it that the Sungs’ fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sungs,’ her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is the guesthouse in the garden locked up—and what’s inside? 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 the organ donor scandal. To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer.

My two cents

Asian heroines are few and far in between, particularly in the cozy mystery genre. When I read the first installment of Aunty Lee's Delights, I was instantly charmed (go read my review of Book 1 and see why I liked it so much). Naturally when I heard that book 2 was available, I wanted in!

In this mystery, Aunty Lee stumbles upon murder when she caters brunch for the Sungs. At their especial request, she serves up buah keluak, a Peranakan specialty of chicken prepared with the potentially poisonous black fruit (extreme eating, think fugu). Did Aunty Lee unwittingly poison her own customer as the police are wont to believe?

Of course not! Armed with her old lady nosiness, her trusty sidekick Nina, her rather convenient police connections, and lots of good homecooked Peranakan food, Aunty Lee sets out to find the true murderer.

This unearths a curious mix: a conspiracy involving the black market for organs and human trafficking among Singapore's well heeled and influential, a touching love story, desperation for a better life and generally insightful observations of human motivations. Yu's new novel once again introduces a Western audience to better understand the fantastic characterizations of various classes within Singapore society, of the role of nosy old women and the balm that is food in Asian cultures.

Verdict: Another good foodie mystery set in Singapore featuring the nosy Aunty Lee. The concept is the strength of this series. I loved this and will continue to be on the look out for all other books in the Aunty Lee series.

Ovidia YuAbout Ovidia Yu

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore’s best-known and most acclaimed writers. She has had more than thirty plays produced and is also 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 or follow her on Twitter.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in order to participate in this tour with an honest review. Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour here.  

Paperback: 384 pages, Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, Original edition (September 30, 2014)


  1. Aunty Lee is such a fabulous character! I'm looking forward to more in this series as well!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. I have this book too. It sounds like such fun.

    I can't wait to read it.

    Thanks for your wonderful comments and review.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved November Edition. I am in the list as #5.

    My book entry is below.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry


© guiltless readingMaira Gall