Member Reviews

Vera Wong is a tea expert, she knows what the right tea is for any ailment or occasion. She also considers herself an expert crime solver. A murder has occurred in her tea shop and Vera has decided to help the police find the killer. She is sure that she can do a much better job. Along the way Vera checks up on her son, the neighbor and inserts herself into the lives of the suspects.

This was such a fun story. I found myself laughing and smiling. . Vera seemed so intrusive at first but by the end of the story I wished that I knew someone like her. She is feisty, strong willed and kind. This is the perfect read for a reader looking for a mystery, some humor and a lot of heart.

4 ⭐️

Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This was really just a whole lot of fun! I liked Vera from the start (but I must admit that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have her as a mother!). The story was funny and I didn’t want to stop reading once I started. It’s been a long time since a book made me laugh out loud, so I am happy to report that I did just that while reading this book. This was an excellent introduction to Jesse Q. Sutanto’s writing.

Vera lives alone in an apartment above her tea shop. She calls her adult son frequently and opens her tea shop on time daily knowing that she won’t get many customers. She lives a routine life until she finds a dead body in the tea shop. Since she knows that the police won’t solve the murder, she takes matters into her own hands. She soon befriends those tied to the victim and they start to grow close, even as she investigates them for the murder. I really loved all of the characters and adored the found family they created together. The mystery itself was able to keep me guessing until the very end.

I listened to the audiobook and thought that Eunice Wong really took the story to the next level. She did such a great job of bringing Vera to life. I think that she did a great job with all of the character voices and she was able to bring the humor out with her narration. I am certain that her narration added to my overall enjoyment of this story.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. This story had the perfect combination of great characters, humor, heartfelt moments, and an engaging mystery. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work very soon.

I received a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group and Penguin Random House Audio.

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Everything Sutanto writes is charming, cozy, and hilarious. Her characters are lovable and keep me completely invested in all the hijinks! Of course her latest is no exception.

60-year-old Vera Wong is a self-proclaimed tea expert who keeps up with the times with detective work on the internet - after she wakes at 4am and has a brisk walk, of course! She's a loving mother who incessantly checks in on her only son with texts to remind him that if he's still in bed at 7am, he's basically wasted the entire day.

What Vera never expects is to wake up and find a dead man in her tea shop.
No matter, she's processed the scene and made the chalk outline before the police arrive.
And when they fail to see that this is a case of murder, she's certain she can catch the killer.
Another charming cozy from Jesse Q. Sutanto. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Vera in the future!

Thanks to Berkley Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was released March 14, 2023.

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What was the last book you read that surprised you? Happy Publication Day to VERA WONG! Not to be confused with Vera Wang. I’m a fan of the DIAL A FOR AUNTIES series and happily thought that this story would be a cozy-like mystery about a meddling woman, stirring up trouble, cooking delicious food, and somehow solving a murder in her free time. I was right about a couple of things, but this book had so much unexpected depth that I enjoyed it immensely more.
 
why my nose was in this book:
This story was so heartwarming, it was like a big hug, it made me smile
Surprisingly, the mystery aspect of the story took a backseat for me, instead focusing on the friendships that Vera fosters with the “suspects” and their returned admiration with her
I enjoyed playing detective, reading the character POVs and puzzling out the unspoken relation that each person had with the dead guy that was found in Vera’s teashop
Vera was hilarious, from her meddling in the investigation – outlining the body, making tea for the detectives, she was such a joy to read and I loved that mixed in with her silly naivety, there was a seriousness to her that was unexpected and welcomed
I loved how she gathered these “suspects” together and treated them as friends, while also secretly figuring out whether one of them was the killer
This story made me reach for a snack time and time again, I was drooling over my Kindle, reading about the delicious food that Vera cooked for her suspects

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Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was such a fun novel! This was absolutely a hoot. I hope there are more books when Vera coming!

Vera Wong is a lonely old lady and she owns her own tea shop in Chinatown of San Francisco. One day she comes to her store to find a dead body in her store! He’s holding a flash drive; Vera calls the cops, but she can’t help but take the flash drive to see what’s on it. She thinks the killer will be back for it and she just has to wait and watch.

Lots of people have motive for the murder and Vera gets to know a few suspects. One is the dead man’s wife, one is a supposed reporter who is investigating and one is even the dead man’s twin brother! Vera becomes friends with these people, but she still can’t figure out who killed Marshall.

Vera is such a meddling woman, but she really means the best. Her son doesn’t call enough and she’s just looking for friends to keep her company. She truly thinks she is helping. She has had a rough time since her husband passed away and this is the most excitement she’s had in a while.

Thank you to @berkleypub and @prhaudio for my ALC. Vera Wong is out now!

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How hard can it be to solve the case of the murdered body in her tea shop? Vera’s got experience after all. Like any self-respecting Asian mother she’s had tabs on her son’s life. Jesse Sutanto does it again with her winning writing style and plot full of all the mischief and mayhem a reader can want.

Vera Wong lives alone above her small tea shop, snooping online to keep an eye on her son and the modern times, and distributing her own brand of Asian wisdom with her tea. Her monotonous life gets a charge when she finds the dead body in her shop. The police aren’t the exciting cops from the TV dramas and she decides to take the case especially since she might have swiped a primary bit of evidence from the body after she called the police. It must be one of the people who came into the shop afterwards who are looking for that thumb drive she found on the body.

Vera’s antics in working the case are her own and, while investigating her chief suspects, she gets to know them and rather likes them. Her days are colorful and interesting, but someone did murder and that somebody has to be getting desperate.

I read the Dial A for Aunties duo and Vera has that spirited, over the top, hilarious old lady Asian charm going for her that reminded me strongly of the Aunties. But, in this case, Vera is the main perspective so I had all the fun of being inside her head and getting her point of view. She’s pushy, bossy, nosey, and makes up the rules when she feels she must, but she’s also caring and interested in others. I loved that she went from lonely to pulling a fun band of people about her through her new detecting project.

I worked out some bits of the mystery, but not who the killer was. I didn’t feel sorry for Marshal the victim and I was really hoping it was none of her new friends. In truth, I just sat back and got a kick out of Vera.
All in all, it was meant to be fun and light. It fits with the cozy mystery feel so I’ll recommend it to those who enjoy that genre and especially with some foodie, some tea, and lots of Asian auntie to go around.

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Being a fan of the Aunties series (Dial A For Aunties), I was more than excited to receive an advanced copy of Sutano’s newest release; Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice For Murderers. Vera is absolutely a new favorite character of mine and I will be all in for anything else that features her ❤️🙌 She is tiny, nosey, bossy, aggressive and one of the most endearing characters you’ll meet on the page!

Vera is the proud owner of a tea house and follows a strict daily routine of rising early, getting in a good walk around the neighborhood and running her business. When she walks into her tea house one morning and discovers a dead body, Vera’s new role as amateur detective begins. She is only helping the police out by drawing the body outline, right!? And…maybe taking a clue and putting it in her pocket. Well let’s face it, she’s not helping them out. The truth is, she can solve the murder better!

The whole cast of characters is wonderful. It’s fun to read about Vera bulldozing her way into their lives, feeding them amazing food (this book will make you hungry) and letting them know she suspects them all of murder and is going to figure out which one did it. Sounds crazy, right? Yeah, it is a little. But everyone soon realizes we should all be so lucky to have a Vera in our lives ❤️

I HIGHLY recommend this book if you love:
🫖 Cozy Mysteries
🫖 Laughing
🫖 Tea
🫖 Happy, lighthearted reads
🫖 Memorable Characters
🫖 Chinese Food 🍱

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I enjoyed this cozy mystery! I especially liked the multiple povs and well fleshed out characters. There are heartwarming themes of found family and culture incorporated. It was slower paced but not super twisty. I also think it was less entertaining than DAFA, but the character development and like-ability is better in this one. I also liked how it wrapped up!

A great cozy mystery.

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This is my favorite book by Jesse Sutanto. I've loved everything I've read but this! This! A great whodunnit, found family feels, and the descriptions of food! Vera is such a loveable character, she's tough as nails but so kind and smart. Truly this is such an excellent mystery with the perfect amount of emotional pull. Sutanto always writes books with so much heart that are always so worth the read. I hope we get more about Vera!

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I was in the mood for something lighter, and the cover of Jesse Q. Sutanto's newest mystery Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice For Murderers beckoned me to pick it up. Am I ever glad I did!

Vera Wong is a 60 year-old widow who begins each day at 4:30am precisely and texts her laywer son "reminding him that he's sleeping his life away and should have been up before her" as he has a "whole world to conquer." Then she dons her sweatpants, Ralph Lauren polo shirt, and visor and heads out for her daily walk around her San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood.

When she returns home, she opens her business "Vera Wang's World Famous Teahouse", which is neither owned by the famous fashion designer Vera Wang nor world famous. Sematics. She waits for her only customer of the day, her neighbor Alex, who comes in to get tea and bring it back to wife who is suffering from Alzheimer's.

Everyday is the same until one morning when Vera comes down from her upstairs apartment to find the dead body of a man in her teahouse. Vera calls the police and is excited because she watches all the CSIs and she knows all the activity that will follow. She begins to brew special teas for the police, teas that will help with concentration and solve the crime.

When only two police officers arrive, they find that Vera drew an outline of the body with a Sharpie marker on the floor. She says she did not touch anything else (do we believe that?) and when the police find little evidence of a murder, Vera is disappointed in the police's lack of investigation.

So of course, Vera begins her own investigation. Other people trickle in- a man who claims to be a reporter, a woman who claims to host a true crime podcast, the man's widow with her young daughter, and the man's brother. These five people band together to try and find the killer, even though Vera has declared that one of the other four are her main suspects.

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice For Murderers is a laugh out loud cozy mystery, and Vera is a truly unforgettable character. The things she says, the texts she sends her son, and yet she has a heart of gold beneath her lack of a filter. If you are a fan of the Hulu series Only Murders In The Building, you'll love this book. It has the same sensibility.

My only criticism is that Vera is described several times as "elderly". I am also 60 years old and many of my friends are "of a certain age" and I do not consider myself or them "elderly". It's supposed to be remarkable that Vera is so spry, but we all get around just fine. I hope when they do the TV series of this book they make Vera a little older than 60. I look forward to more of Vera's future escapades.

Thanks to Berkley for providing me with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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I think "Tea-shop owner. Matchmaker. Detective?" is probably the best way to sell this, but also this is really funny!

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Vera Wong is an older woman who has lost touch with her son as well as the larger world, though she would argue against that since she keeps up on the lingo and surfs the internet to search for the latest trend. She runs her tea shop (Vera Wang's (not a spelling error on my part) World-Famous Teahouse) and sends her son a wall of text but no one seems to respond except her one regular customer. She does the same thing every day and feels some tiredness but isn't sure how to get off the treadmill. Until she's violently shaken by the discovery of a dead body, that of Marshall Chen, in her shop.
An inveterate watcher of crime shows, Vera knows just what to do. She pats down the body, draws a chalk outline, then calls the police. While waiting, she tidies the shop and makes the police tea. She doesn't understand why they are so upset with her, nor why they get so annoyed at her asking if they want a drink. She made her best tea, one that will help them think clearly.
Well. She's going to find out what is going on and puts out an obituary for the body. From that come three people: the man's wife, his twin, a mysterious young man claiming to be a reporter, and a young woman who puts out true crime podcasts (although that also seems suspect as Marshall's death was declared a suicide).
Vera bulldozes into these characters lives and we get to see them come together to solve the mystery of why Marshall died. A bonus? Vera gets to spend a little time with her son as well.
Sometimes it can get a little much with alternating view points but Sutanto handles it wonderfully providing glimpses into a number of characters without losing pacing. I'm really hoping there is another book in the series and that it shows Vera and Gladys (the old woman in the other hospital bed) becoming friends.

Four and a half stars
This book comes out March 14, 2023
ARC kindly provided by Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley
Opinions are my own

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Oh man. I’m in love. Vera is now my favorite book character. She’s the best. I want one of her in my life.

All of the food and teas mentioned in this book sound amazing. Are there teahouses? Someone take me to one.

The character development was superb. Multiple POVs but easy to follow. A murder mystery, with a side mystery thrown in, family drama, humor, romance, straight talk, words of wisdom, and more humor.

Read this book. It’s amazing.

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In terms of a cozy mystery, this hit all the spots I needed it to. Vera was such a unique and endearing character, and I would easily read more books with her as the MC. I loved the descriptions of food and tea and the way she's trying to learn all the Gen Z lingo. In terms of the mystery itself, that's where it fell flat for me. I feel like there were a lot of explanations of the supporting cast's reasons for not liking Marshall and then at the end, it amounted to nothing. It felt a bit disconnected, and the twist didn't feel as satisfying as it usually does in a cozy mystery. I also feel like there was more telling than showing when it came to character growth and emotions which ended up making this feel not as immersive as I'd hoped. Overall still a super cute read, Vera made it so worth it!

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Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is a hold onto your hat cozy mystery that takes place in a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. A fun mystery with a wonderful mix of flawed characters that it was a pleasure to get to know. I didn’t want it to end!

**Thank you NetGalley for an electronic ARC in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book.

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Thank you @berkleypub for the free book and @prhaudio for the audio version as well. #penguinrandomhousepartner
#berkleypartner #berkley #berkleybookstagram

This is a thoroughly entertaining, laugh-out-loud read! I absolutely loved the character of Vera. She is everything you see on television about the stereotypical Asian mother…overprotective, knows what is best for everyone else, and tells it how she sees it!

When Vera discovers a dead body in her Ancient Chinese Tearoom, she calls the police. She is disappointed to see that the police do not give the case the priority she thinks it deserves, so she decides to investigate herself. Never mind if she “slightly” tampers with the evidence, keeps something secret from the police, or helps them out by drawing the outline around the body herself! Soon she has a list of suspects and she goes about casually inserting herself into their lives. As she works to solve the murder, she sees herself as  the famous Agatha Christie detective, Hercules Poirot. Her suspects fall into place and obey her every command as Vera weaves wisdom into their lives! The surprising conclusion is wrapped up nicely!

The audio version is absolutely wonderful! Narrated by Eunice Wong, the accents are perfect and really add to the listening enjoyment.

Read this if you enjoy:
*Delightful main characters
*Laugh-out loud humor
*Agatha Christie mysteries

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"Vera Wong Zhuzhu ... is a pig, but she really should have been born a rooster." From the first sentence, I knew I was going to love Jesse Q. Sutanto's latest book set in San Francisco's Chinatown. It has all the cozy mystery feels, and then some, with abundant humor and plot twists. Vera is the sixty-year-old owner of a tea shop that has exactly one customer. She's OK living alone, as long as she can have her just-right-for-the-occasion cup of tea, access to Google, and an aiya-listen-to-your-mother-themed text thread aimed at her only son. When she descends from her lonely apartment one day into her equally lonely tea shop, she finds a dead man in the middle of the shop floor. She's pretty sure she can do a better job than the police in solving this mystery, so amateur sleuth Vera Wong sets off a series of events that draw a cast of curious characters into her tea shop and into her life, which will never be the same lonely existence again. I love Vera, I love her tea and cooking prowess, and I love the wit and warmth of this book. 5 stars.

[Thanks to Berkley | Penguin Random House and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an advanced reader copy and share my opinion of this book.]

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i loved the premise of this, but it felt like it dragged on a bit. the found family aspect was lovely, and i enjoyed vera as a narrator immensely, but the murder kind of seemed unnecessary. this could have been a book completely void of crime and would have worked well, maybe better. by the end i was reading for the characters and not to find out who did it, which to me is more about sutanto’s character creation then murder mystery skills.

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This book was amazing. The multiple POVs and watching these strangers come together made me so happy. I love how Sutanto infused humor into serious topics while still handling them delicately. My mouth was watering and my heart was so happy and full

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Vera Wong has been living a quiet, and lonely life since her son has grown, and her husband passed away. She opens her tea shop every day but customers are thin and besides texting her son “helpful” advice, which he mostly ignores, nothing much happens out of her normal routine until she wakes and discovers a body in her tea shop. The police’s response is lackluster in Vera’s opinion and so she sets out to solve the murder on her own, because everyone knows the killer always returns to the scene of the crime! All Vera needs to do is sit back and wait for her suspect to arrive.

Vera was very sure of how life should go and was puzzled why people didn’t automatically agree with her, like the police. She was hilarious!

Of course, there were people connected to the dead man that did show up and Vera adds them to her suspect list as she makes them tea, cooks for them, asks them questions and then tells them what they should be doing with their lives. These “suspects” end up benefiting from her help and they brighten Vera’s life, too, but is one of them a murderer?

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was such fun! I had to laugh at her “helpful” texts sent to her son at 4:30 am, “reminding him that he’s sleeping his life away”! I remember being annoyed by early phone calls from my dad or grandma, and they weren’t at 4:30 am! It was heartwarming to see Vera’s love and attention help others, helping her in turn. The story was humorous, moving and uplifting and I’d definitely recommend it to others!

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