Synopsis: Rosie ‘Aunty’ Lee, amateur sleuth and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home-cooking restaurant, finds herself in the middle of a missing person’s case after she offers the services of her helper Nina to ambitious businesswoman Beth Kwuan, whose own maid has disappeared. But as the weeks go by, Aunty Lee begins to fear for Nina’s safety – did Beth’s maid just run away, or has she met a darker fate? As Aunty tries to solve the puzzle, she finds herself the unwelcome target of Beth’s business partner, her late sister’s husband, Jonny Ho, who seems all too keen to develop Aunty Lee’s culinary business. But Aunty is not so sure she wants his help…
My review: I do like a quirky murder mystery…where the sleuth is some sort of shop owner, meddling neighbour or whatnot. They make a nice change from the depressive, divorced cop trying to solve one last case. I like them even more when set somewhere that isn’t UK or USA as it gives you the chance to see some of the customs, charms (and not so charming) elements of places you may never get to see.
Meddling…is set in Singapore somewhere I know absolutely nothing about so as well as a fun, quirky read I got to learn about tourist and work visas and the customs of who can marry who and the rights of migrant workers.
Aunty Lee runs a restaurant but loves to know the ins and outs of what is going on in her neighbourhood and the local police station. Her old school friend has died and the new, second husband has team up with his dead wife’s sister to convert a house into a super school for small children. He’s not a nice man, the sister is a stereotypical old maid jealous of everyone’s succcess. When the body of their missing maid is discovered we’ve already been programmed to believe they’re the bad guys. And this is where the book is let down slightly – it’s so telegraphed as to who dunnit, there’s no actual mystery. The enjoyment therefor has to be in the journey to discovery.
It’s a fun book, it won’t tax your brain, it’s more lively than No1 Ladies Detective Agency that I’ve seen it compared to. The characters seem to be having more fun. I’d say take it to the beach and read it in a day while catching some sun. It’s a decent enough book but you won’t come away from it with any big revelations. Thumbs in the middle
Received free ARC through netgalley