Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q. Sutanto

What to read when…

…your boyfriend’s moved in and you’re trying really hard to be normal about it.  It had been 13 years since a man lived in my house, and for all the ways his nearness turned me into a warm gooey brownie inside, his permanent presence in my previously unmanned house baked me a bit crispy around the edges.  If you’ve ever made this clumsy, emotionally kaleidoscopic transition in your own life, you probably know the odd sensation of entirely forgetting how to dress yourself, make a bowl of cereal, or even lounge on your own couch like a normal human being.  This is where Sutanto’s novel would have come in handy.  I desperately needed something to read that attended to my newly scattered brain function, while holding my attention until my emotional equilibrium righted itself.  Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers would have been perfect.  Unfortunately, I was reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Part Sherlock Holmes, part Agatha Christie, part Chicken Soup for the Reader’s Soul (how has no one written this one?), Sutanto’s frolicking comedy of a murder mystery is pure fun and merriment throughout.  The story is simple in the best way, demonstrating that all wrongs in life can be righted.  And all sadness cured with love and laughter and Chinese Hot Pot.  We don’t even feel badly for the dead guy (he was kind of an ass). 

Read Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers to enjoy Vera Wong, age 60, amateur sleuth and owner of the failing and not at all famous, “Vera Wang’s World Famous Tea House,” and who, depending on your childhood experience, is either the Chinese mother you wish you had (as in my case), or the one you’re glad you didn’t.  Either way, all other characters pale in her presence, making Vera, alone, reason to read the book.  Also, read the book for the descriptions of…the…FOOD.  Wow.  And yes, read Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers if you’re struggling to move through something in your life and are in dire need of light distraction and good chuckles.

Or, if you’re a murderer.

Happily, I finished Gone Girl without feeling the urge to make myself gone.  Quite the opposite, it turns out, since we’ll be one year married come January!

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