Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu
Published by Harper Collins on September 17th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Cultural Heritage, General
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This delectable and witty mystery introduces Rosie "Aunty" Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore's best-loved home-cooking restaurant
After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could have become one of Singapore's "tai tai," an idle rich lady. Instead she is building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee's Delights, where spicy Singaporean meals are graciously served to locals and tourists alike. But when a body is found in one of Singapore's tourist havens and one of her guests fails to show at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that the two events are likely connected.
The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee's henpecked stepson, Mark, his social-climbing wife, Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit may mask a deeper purpose. Investigating the murder are Police Commissioner Raja and Senior Staff Sergeant Salim, who quickly discover that Aunty Lee's sharp nose for intrigue can sniff out clues that elude law enforcers.
Wise, witty, and charming, Aunty Lee's Delights is a spicy mystery about love, friendship, and food in Singapore, where money flows freely and people of many religions and ethnicities coexist peacefully, but where tensions lurk just below the surface, sometimes with deadly consequences.
I chose this for my South-East Asian author task for Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge.
It was an enjoyable murder/mystery book which follows the investigations after a body is found off Singapore. Aunty Lee – a mix of Jessica Fletcher and Agatha Raisin – decides to “help” the police with their investigations once the victim is found to have been a customer in her cafe.
The characters in this book are great, with some you love and others you loathe! The book is a gentle, cosy mystery with no guts and gore to it. But its a lovely read and one which I enjoyed.
Once again, this is a book that I probably wouldn’t have discovered it without the Book Riot challenge!
No Way Back Published by Penguin UK on August 11th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Crime, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General, Suspense
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A treat for fans of DI Helen Grace: an ebook short story from Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author M. J. Arlidge.
Jodie's arriving at her third children's home. She's only fifteen.Maybe this time will be different. She'll be safe. Looked after.
But the truth is Jodie has no one left to protect her.She must defend herself. She must change.
PRAISE FOR M.J. ARLIDGE:
'Helen Grace is one of the greatest heroes to come along in years' JEFFERY DEAVER'The new Jo Nesbo' JUDY FINNIGAN
'Fast paced and nailbitingly tense ... gripping' SUN
'DI Helen Grace is a genuinely fresh heroine ... MJ Arlidge weaves together a tapestry that chills to the bone'Daily Mail'Chilling stuff' Fabulist
'A chilling read' My Weekly 'A grisly, gripping thriller' Sunday Mirror
'Gruesomely realistic, intriguing and relentless. Arlidge's fledgling army of fans is about to grow' Sunday Sport
'Eeny Meeny debuts one of the best new series detectives, Helen Grace. Determined, tough and damaged, she must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs. Mesmerizing!' Lisa Gardner
'Expertly pulled off. It has a devious premise. DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It's scary as all hell. And it has a full cast of realistically drawn, interesting characters that make the thing read like a bullet' Will Lavender
'A fast-paced, twisting police procedural and thriller that's sure to become another bestseller' Huffington Post
I’m a huge fan of MJ Arlidge and have read and reviewed all his books released up until now. With the exception of one, I have loved them! I’m also eagerly awaiting the 6th book in the series – Hide and Seek – which is due to be released next month. So when I spotted on Twitter that there was a new short story out, I bought it straight away.
This is a prequel to the Helen Grace series, and as such really needs to be read after the main series of books in order to give the necessary background and context. Without wanting to give away too much about the stories in the series, it covers Helen’s time in a children’s home immediately following the death of her parents.
It’s a very short book – 40 or so pages, which I read in about 20 minutes. But priced at 99p it’s not the biggest financial outlay and it was an entertaining story. I could have done with it being longer – but that’s only because I love Arlidge’s writing so much and wanted to get more into the characters. But even at such a short length, it still packs a punch.
The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Published by Hachette UK on January 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Thrillers, General, Psychological, Contemporary Women, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
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Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family's holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.
When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends - the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father - the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...
Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable 'ripped from the headlines' novel that you will want to talk about with everyone you know.
I must admit, this was my second attempt at reading “The Darkest Secret” after previously giving up on it. This time I persevered and I’m kind of glad I did. It took me a while to realise the timeline was jumping between past and present events, as the present events aren’t dated, but the characters are the same, but once I’d untangled the characters and the style (jumping from emails to witness statements to storyline) I started to get into it and found it was quite gripping. Unfortunately I found the story tailing off somewhat from that point until it limped towards its “not very surprising” ending.
The characters are mostly unpleasant, self-centred, selfish and downright unlikable; so it’s hard to find something to hold on to as the story progresses. I also figured out the “twist” at the end way before it was revealed, so there wasn’t anything to really draw me in and keep me gripped to the storyline.
It was an OK read, and I may read more from Marwood, but not any time soon.