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From the Stacks: Murder mystery features plenty of humor

by Mariah Luebbering | May 21, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
"Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers" by Jesse Q. Sutanto. MRRL/News Tribune

Vera Wong is not about to let anyone put a crimp in her plans or rain on her parade. She raised a successful son and buried her partner from a long, loving marriage. She rises with the sun each morning and has a plan for every day.

Vera ialso s happy to make a plan for each person who comes her way during the day. Unfortunately, that's not many people. Vera would never say she is lonely. However, each day is a lot like the last. And sadly, most of the interesting parts are over by 8 a.m.

Then it's just waiting around until tomorrow. Author Jesse Q. Sutanto's new novel, "Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers," starts fast and hilarious from the first page with her murder mystery turning into a romantic romp.

All that would change the morning Vera Wong comes downstairs from her apartment situated over her World Famous Tea Shop and finds a man dead on her floor. Finally, something exciting! But when the police come to the scene of the crime, Vera finds they are not at all perceptive or useful. They chalk up what is obviously a murder (in Vera's estimation) as a natural death.

Of course, the police don't find the thumb drive that the murdered man had in his hand since Vera kindly picked it up. And, astonishingly, the police do not seem to appreciate that Vera has already drawn a chalk outline around the body. She didn't have chalk, but a Sharpie worked wonders! How can the police be so dense? Who in their right mind breaks into a tea shop to die naturally?

Vera knows the only way to bring a resolution to this new development in her world is by commencing her own sleuthing. In the end, the police will no doubt thank her. Solving a crime will give Vera something to do with her free time and, without a doubt, impress her son, who never remembers to call.

In the midst of the excitement of solving a crime, Vera meets four young people who all know the murder victim, all have serious problems of their own and all seem likely suspects. Vera Wong is rather disappointed because in the course of her investigation, she has really come to care about these young people but justice demands truth and Vera won't stop until the murder is solved.

Jesse Q. Sutanto's delightful romantic mystery brings a wonderful new depth to the concept of meet cutes. The ending brings just as much satisfaction as every twist along the way does!

Mariah Luebbering is the adult services librarian at the Missouri River Regional Library.

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