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by Ovidia Yu

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-222715-7
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

She looks like a sweet little old lady, but she probes like a pit bull.

The first body that washes up on Singapore's Sentosa Beach sets Aunty Lee's detective antennae quivering. Owner of the small cafe that bears her name, she's already notorious throughout the industry for exposing fraud among local food suppliers. Aunty Lee remembers that this beach used to be called Pulau Blakang Mati, the "Island of Death." True to form, she speculates all day about the corpse while preparing for an evening dinner party at the cafe, a mix of business and pleasure. Her stepson, Mark, and his pretentious wife, Selina, will be in attendance, along with a handful of others. Strangely, Mark and Selina's friend Laura Kwee, slated to help with wine and collecting money, fails to attend or even call. Another expected guest, Laura's friend Marianne, is also a no-show. The party is still plenty lively, with a colorful guest list. Plump Lucy Cunningham and her husband, Frank, are excited to have an authentic Shanghai experience; former flight attendant Cherril Peters is excited to have left husband Mycroft at home. Not long after, police arrive to tell Aunty Lee that Laura's body was the one found on the beach. When it is followed by a second corpse believed to be Marianne's, Aunty Lee springs into full investigative mode, often outshining the frumpy police.

This delightfully anachronistic series debut from playwright and occasional novelist Yu (Miss Moorthy Investigates, 2012, etc.) boasts buoyant prose and a colorful cast, led by the lovably unstoppable sleuth herself.