Berkley | 14 March 2023 | 352 pgs
Vera Wong is a 60-year-old woman who lives alone above her tea shop at Chinatown in San Francisco. One would think Vera would be lonely and vulnerable at her age, but she's none of that. On the contrary, she's full of zest and given her curiosity and her snooping habits, she's know a lot of other things which some people may overlook. Plus, she's warm and easygoing so it's hard not to like her; well except her only son Tilbert who thinks she's a bit naggish and making a fuss out of nothing but that's what many Asian mothers would do. So aside from brewing various Chinese teas and chatting up with a few friends while struggling to hold on to her declining business, basically her life is uninteresting until one early morning she finds a dead body in her tea shop, his hand tightly clenched over a flash drive.
Under this circumstances, anyone would be too terrified to do anything but to call the police. Well, Vera did call the police but before that, she swipes the flash drive out of the dead man's hand and put it in her apron, thinking that she could do a much better job than the police with her snooping habits and some extra time on her hands. She figures that the killer would return to the crime scene and all she has to do is to be observant of the customers who visit her tea house. Before long Vera quickly forge a close friendship with a few of her customers; and what she's to do if one of them happens to be the killer?
Vera was one character who'll grow on you the more you get to know her. She has a vigorous personality and combined with her vigilant and inquisitive demeanour, she's unstoppable once she put her sleuthlike skills to work. Her interactions/banter with a few of her customers and friends were fun to read, though she could be a bit overbearing at times but her intentions are good. I'd say this is more of a character-driven cozy mystery and though I rarely read this genre, I enjoyed this book a lot.
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