Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm kicking off the TLC book tour for the second installment in Ovidia Yu's series, Aunty Lee's Deadly Delights!

Things turn deadly when Aunty Lee is hired to cater a party for a local law firm! 

Rosie Lee is known for her tasty Peranakan specialties, which leads to a special request from the Sung Law Firm. Mabel Sung hires Aunty Lee to cook for a party honoring the new promotion of her daughter, Sharon. For the buffet, they have two specific requirements - a nasi lemak spread and Aunty Lee's special chicken buah keluak. The chicken dish is one that has its risks, if prepared incorrectly the nuts used in the dish can be deadly. When both Mabel Sung and her son Leonard are discovered dead, fingers immediately begin pointing at Rosie and the buah keluak.  But Rosie knows her food can't be responsible. Never one to stand idly by, Aunty Lee quickly inserts herself into the investigation. This time, though, catching the killer is the only way to clear her own name and save her business!

There is an undeniable charm to Ovidia Yu's series. These characters - Rosie, Nina, Cherrill, Mark, Selina, Salim... are so richly drawn. All of their personality quirks, their signature mannerisms, everything about them comes through.

As with the first installment, Aunty Lee's Delights, the plot is fun and moves along at a rather quick pace. But, as with the first installment, the somewhat choppy prose is still present. Fortunately, it's much less of a distraction this time around. Whether this is a mark of improvement, I honestly can't say - I suspect it's more the investment in the characters at this point that's allowed me to move past some of this. The biggest issue I noticed in this particular outing is the repetition. It is consistent, though, so I believe it's intended. As a style quirk it's easy to look past and doesn't detract from the overall readability.

I'll warn you - these are food based mysteries and I don't know about you guys but there are no Singaporean style restaurants in my area! Yu's description of the meals and dishes prepared by Aunty Lee set my stomach immediately growling. As a tiny bonus she does include some recipes, including the potentially deadly buah keluak! Don't worry, macadamia nuts are an alternative!

It's a nice twist, though, the inclusion of the food. While culinary mysteries aren't rare, it's the overall Singapore setting as well as the cultural details AND the food that elevate this series beyond the normal cozy fare.

Rating: 3.5/5

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. For more on Ovidia Yu and her work you can like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Amanda said...

Oh I love seeing a cozy centered around Asian cuisine! Sounds like fun. Were there any recipes in the book? I know lots of cozies include them.

Becky LeJeune said...

There are two recipes in this installment, Amanda. I seem to recall there were a few in the first book as well but I don't remember how many.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I have a feeling this book would make me very hungry as well!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.