Category: Amateur Detective

Book Review | “Styx & Stone” (An #EllieStone #Mystery, No. 1) by James W. Ziskin

Posted Thursday, 2 June, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to review “Heart of Stone” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger.

As a new reviewer for Seventh Street Books, I was quite intrigued by discovering another new author under this imprint for Prometheus Books, as thus far along I have found this imprint to be producing wicked good content for mystery enthusiasts! I requested if it were possible to receive the first book in the series, “Styx & Stone” as this series is in-progress and has a total of four novels thus far released.

I received my complimentary copy of Styx & Stone from the publisher Seventh Street Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I am appreciating from Seventh Street Books Mystery authors:

[ Jennifer Kincheloe ]

Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era. (from review of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc)

Anna Blanc was the first character who caught my readerly eye so to speak when I originally found Seventh Street Books and had read through their Current Front List catalogue to see what story would intrigue me as I was picking my first story to review. There was simply something about this historical mystery that tempted me to say “Yes, please!” and I was not disappointed! If anything, it left me hungering for a sequel and a continuation of Anna Blanc’s journey! She was writ so wondrously well, every inch of this novel was unputdownable because it was realistically compelling and lovingly conceived to live inside it’s era of choice! What was happily unexpected was the cheeky humour and the levity, the author underscored to the harder hitting edges of the story! I loved her personality and spark she granted to Anna Blanc – such a lovely discovery for me!

[ Larry D. Sweazy ]

I dearly appreciate the dramatic styling of Sweazy’s approach to writing this mystery series as it’s breadth is far deeper than the psychological impacts of crime and the tragic losses endured by those who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Sweazy digs deeper into the heart and mind of his lead character (Marjorie Trumaine) whilst using her as a guiding point towards understanding the undercurrents of her small Dakota towne – it’s in this approach that I have found myself so happily entrenched inside the Dakotas, and happily residing a bit on the Trumaine farm whilst I walk beside Marjorie as she puts the clues together and finds truth out of secrets hidden from view. (from review of See Also Deception)

The Marjorie Trumaine mysteries caught my eye after Anna Blanc – I have had a hankering for wicked good mysteries for quite a long while now – they are dearly one of my favourites to curl up inside – especially the cosy side of the ledger, but this series – wow. I had hoped it would be a series I could disappear inside, but I could never have fathomed how heart-centred I felt to the Dakota small towne and whilst becoming fully entrenched inside the spirit of Marjorie Trumaine! I spent a heap of lovely hours happily in step with Marjorie’s pursuit of the truth and as each story in turn was quite unputdownable – I dreamt of the story whilst away from it – I could only hope a third installment will come along soon! Perhaps within a year? It’s that wicked brilliant! It’s also singularly unique – a dramatic crime story full of introspective intuitions about humanity and the human condition!

[ Susan Spann ]

Spann continues to write in such a beautiful arc of narrative voice, styling her cosy historical mysteries after the culture she celebrates with each novel she pens. She keeps the characters true to not only their own personal beliefs and convictions, but to the cultural heritage they are naturally akin to representing. I may have voiced wanting to see more emotional responses from the samurai, but that was only as an observational notice of how well controlled their emotions are and how wisely they choose not to show too much emotion to the outside world; as it would be a completely slip of weakness. There are simply times where you feel as a reader, one character, even if a minor one in a story might react differently than their training; and it is in this, that I celebrate Spann’s gift for historical accuracy as much as personality of character accuracy. The ways of the West and the East do not always align, and by representing her characters with the strength of their own individual personalities, a bridge is reached and crossed. (from review of Blade of the Samurai)

Spann’s Cosy Historical Mysteries are moving to *Seventh Street Books* this year, and I already have my copy of her debut release with them “The Ninja’s Daughter” of which I will happily be devouring this Summer whilst featuring a review close to it’s Pub Date in August! Spann smittened me with this curious portal into Japanese history wherein I found myself tucked inside her character’s lives with such a zest of intrigue I could not believe my wicked luck in finding the series! To be able to continue to celebrate this series per each new installment as they release is a true blessing for a reader whose simply over the moon happy one of her recent favourite series has found a new home with her new favourite publisher of Mysteries! The martial arts and the influences of Japanese tradition and cultural heritage is truly what captured me and has sustained me alongside the beautiful friendship Spann has underwritten into Father Matteo and Hiro’s relationship.

Why the Ellie Stone Mysteries felt like another ‘good fit’ for me:

The first thing that went through my mind when I read the blurb for Heart of Stone, was how interestingly a title can make me think about Jesse Stone! The title character in the television mystery movies featuring Tom Selleck in the lead role created by Robert B. Parker! They (the Jesse Stone mysteries) are a bit harder edged than most of the mysteries that whet a thirst of interest for me to read and/or watch (as I not only read mysteries, I devour Crime Drama & Mysteries in tv and film!) yet surprisingly I was attracted to the downtrodden Jesse Stone who was repairing his soul as he re-built his life in a small towne.

I seem to be on a bit of a ‘1960’ mystery hunt, as the Ellie Stone mysteries take place in early ’60s whereas the Marjorie Trumaine mysteries follow shortly thereafter! Concurrent to this, I found another mystery author (Reavis Z. Wortham) who writes his own Red River series in the 1960s of which has a likeness to the atmosphere inside a Marjorie Trumaine mystery! I’ve decided to follow where my readerly heart takes me, as Wortham’s first novel The Rock Hole was borrowed via ILL (inter-library loan) in late May, however, I unfortunately found I had to return it the day it arrived. I had not realised there is an incident of animal abuse and cruelty in the development of the mystery itself.

In regards to Ellie Stone directly, I liked her felicity to take-on a man’s role and dare to do a job only known for the men who owned it’s niche whilst re-identifying it as her own. Women can do anything they set their mind towards, but in the early 1960s that was not as obvious as it would be in later decades.

Ellie Stone felt like the type of feminist and forward-thinking female character I could rally behind – not only for her moxie to give men a run for it but for how she approached her work. I love strong characters (men and women) but what I love more are strong characters who are redefining a stigma they are living inside in order to find the freedom to be taken on their own terms! No one wants to breathe a space defined by someone else’s prejudices – and to me Ellie Stone felt like the kind of woman who could shatter predetermined mindsets and solve mysteries at the same time!

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Book Review | “Styx & Stone” (An #EllieStone #Mystery, No. 1) by James W. ZiskinStyx & Stone
Subtitle: An Ellie Stone Mystery
by James W. Ziskin
Source: Direct from Publisher

Ellie Stone is a professed modern girl in 1960s' New York City, playing by her own rules and breaking boundaries while searching for a killer among the renowned scholars in Columbia University's Italian Department.

"If you were a man, you'd make a good detective."

Ellie is sure that Sgt. McKeever meant that as a compliment, but that identity-a girl wanting to do a man's job-has throttled her for too long. It's 1960, and Ellie doesn't want to blaze any trails for women; she just wants to be a reporter, one who doesn't need to swat hands off her behind at every turn.

Adrift in her career, Ellie is back in New York City after receiving news that her estranged father, a renowned Dante scholar and distinguished professor, is near death after a savage bludgeoning in his home. The police suspect a routine burglary, but Ellie has her doubts. When a second attempt is made on her father's life, in the form of an "accident" in the hospital's ICU, Ellie's suspicions are confirmed.

Then another professor turns up dead, and Ellie's investigation turns to her father's university colleagues, their ambitions, jealousies, and secret lives. Ellie embarks on a thorny journey of discovery and reconciliation, as she pursues an investigation that offers her both a chance at redemption in her father's eyes, and the risk of losing him forever.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781616148195

Also by this author: Heart of Stone

Also in this series: Heart of Stone


Genres: Crime Fiction, Noir Crime Drama, Thriller


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 15th October, 2013

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 267

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Ellie Stone Mystery series:

Interesting Trivia: this series has been optioned for a television series!

“Stone Cold Dead” – received a nomination for the 2016 Lefty Award for Best World Mystery Novel. “No Stone Unturned” received a coveted Anthony Award nomination for Best Paperback Original in 2015.

Styx & Stone | No.1

No Stone Unturned | No.2 | Book Synopsis

Stone Cold Dead | No.3 | Book Synopsis

Heart of Stone | No.4 | Book Synopsis

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Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #EllieStoneMysteries OR #EllieStoneMystery

Read an Excerpt of Styx & Stone on the author’s site!

About James W. Ziskin

James W. Ziskin

A linguist by training, Ziskin studied romance languages and literature at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his graduate degree, he worked in New York as a photo-news producer and writer, and then as director of NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.

He has since spent 15 years in the Hollywood post-production industry, running large international operations in the subtitling/localization and visual effects fields. Ziskin grew up in Amsterdam, New York, and now lives in the Hollywood Hills.

Photo Credit: William Ziskin

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Posted Thursday, 2 June, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Adulterous Affair, African-American Literature, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Classical Music | Composers, Clever Turns of Phrase, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Judiasm, Lady Detective Fiction, Life Shift, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Music History, New York City, Noir Crime Drama, Religious History, Siblings, Singletons & Commitment, Sociological Behavior, Story in Diary-Style Format, The Sixties, Vulgarity in Literature, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

Book Review | “Should Have Played Poker” by Debra H. Goldstein with an interview about writing #CosyMysteries

Posted Thursday, 21 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to review “Should Have Played Poker” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 3rd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary ARC copy of Should Have Played Poker from the publicist at JKS in exchange for an honest review.  I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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This is a double-showcase for Cosy Mystery author, Debra H. Goldstein: wherein I am first revealling my impressions on behalf of her novel whilst immediately sharing the questions which came to mind to enquiry on her behalf about writing Cosies and where she’d like to take her stories hereafter. Her novel ‘Should Have Played Poker’ celebrated it’s #bookbirthday & #PubDay on the 20th of April, 2016.

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Book Review | “Should Have Played Poker” by Debra H. Goldstein with an interview about writing #CosyMysteriesShould Have Played Poker
Subtitle: A Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg players mystery
by Debra H. Goldstein
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

“Should Have Played Poker” introduces Carrie Martin and her fellow sleuths, the Sunshine Village retirement home Mah Jongg players, as they work to uncover the mystery behind her mother’s murder.

Carrie’s life as a young corporate lawyer who is balancing her job and visiting her father at the retirement home is upset when her mother unexpectedly returns 26 years after abandoning her family. Her mother leaves her with a sealed envelope and the confession that she once considered killing Carrie’s father. Before Carrie opens the envelope, she finds her mother murdered and the woman who helped raise her seriously injured.

Instructed to leave the detective work to the police, Carrie and the ladies in the retirement home’s Mah Jongg circle attempt to unravel Wahoo, Alabama’s past secrets, putting Carrie in danger and at odds with a former lover – the detective assigned to her mother’s case.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781432831592

Series: Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg players


Genres: Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction


Published by Five Star Publishing

on 20th April, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 244

Published By: Five Star Publishing, (Facebook) an imprint of Gale Group
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

Order of connection (story and/or characters): the setting of the University of Michigan was originally introduced in Goldstein’s debut novel “Maze in Blue” where some of the characters also made their first appearance. The Mah Jongg players at the retirement home originally were highlighted in the short story “Legal Magic”. Therefore this is the third installment of connective threads of either setting, story or characters by Goldstein.

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My Review of Should Have Played Poker:

Curiously, Carrie’s mother re-enters her life after twenty-six years apart from her (which is quite colossal if you consider Carrie’s only nine and twenty years!) giving her daughter a thin veil of a hint towards why she exited her life and chose this particular moment to make amends with the explanation she was always due to receive. You can feel the emotional shift in the room whilst Carrie and her mother are having this short conversation, one that doesn’t lend well to length as how do you knit together a connection with someone who is still withholding information? I was surprised Carrie kept quiet and did not explode outright as her mother walked out the door, leaving behind a letter and silence.

Her feelings abate whilst she absorbs the void of disclosure, Carrie moves forward with her day settling into a rhythm of work and personal time off the clock where she visits her father at a retirement home. It’s here where she’s put together a new kind of family, wherein she has garnished the familiarity of the residents and have found a welcoming nod of acceptance amongst them. One in particular is a old favourite of her childhood – a librarian and her father has taken his residency here as a blessing, as he has Alzheimer’s which slowly erodes his memory and faculties. Whilst she makes her way to her father’s room, you could say she’s jolted for a loop twice in one day with circumstances surrounding her mother! So much so, I’m quite sure Carrie will feel quite undone by the time the hours dissolve off the clock and the shock wears off where the only thing that remains are her thoughts and her unresolved anguish. Read More

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Posted Thursday, 21 April, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Mahjong, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships

Blog Book Tour | “Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery” by Gigi Pandian Readers who appreciate Lara Croft or Tia Carrere’s ‘Relic Hunter’ will happily find a new Professor Adventurer who finds extreme joy in digging up the past!

Posted Wednesday, 29 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery ” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary spiral-bound* ARC copy of the book direct from the author Gigi Pandian, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

*This is my first spiral-bound ARC copy of a novel to receive, as what is unique about it is the layout of the pages, as there are ‘two pages per sheet’ of the ARC itself! The flow of the narrative goes from right to left, as the first ‘page’ is set to the right and then the first full page shifts back to ‘left to right’, then if you turn to the third page, it’s in the right order but all the pages are double-sided. It goes with saying I had to adjust to reading it in this style, as at first I thought it was all in reverse! It is the first time I can honestly say I understand other dyslexics and how reading can cause you unexpected problems, as I never had the issue with left to right or right to left, but as I’m finding as an adult dyslexic, everything changes once you leave your childhood years!

A notation on why I love my local library: I borrowed the first two novels in the series via ILL (inter-library loan) in order to understand the flow and pace of the character’s journey. The unique part is that both paperback copies of “Artifact” and “Pirate Vishnu” arrived from public libraries in the PNW: Pacific Northwest! This is an example of how blessed I am for being able to use inter-library loan via my local library and how awesome WorldCat is to connect us to books which are outside the collections of our local library systems! This is one key reason I link books I am highlighting on my blog to WorldCat because depending on where you live, the book will let you know if it’s available to request; either locally or through ILL’ing!

“Artifact” arrived via the North Central Regional Library in Wenatchee, Washington whereas “Pirate Vishnu” arrived via the Timberland Regional Library in Turnwater, Washington. Both copies were paperbacks and only lightly read which made the experience for me as a book blogger discovering a ‘new to me author’ truly enjoyable! I have added the entire series and the novella to my “Book Wishes” List on Riffle! I hadn’t realised there was a ‘prequel’ to the series hidden inside of an anthology until after I received the books via inter-library loan; much to my delight the anthology is also available to borrow in the future!

This is why I stress that local libraries are a wicked resource for readers everywhere to use, not just for those of us who blog our reading lives but for anyone who is curious about an author, a book, or a non-fiction topic to research: a local library and the resources they can provide you with are unparallelled! When I am being writerly I can happily attest I love conducting my research via my local library as well, because you can quantitatively gather materials you cannot have on hand otherwise.

Why adventure and archeological artifacts interest me :

A very little known fact about myself is the original dream I had as a youngster, wells, wait, if I were to be truly honest, the second dream I had as a ‘field of choice’ was to become a Historical Archaeologist. Mind you, I was greatly attached to the aspects of being a Paleontologist prior to settling on archaeology, but my interests wavered a bit to settle on ‘historical’ as I toyed with the idea of ‘Nautical’ (although that would need a PADI certification to achieve!) before uncovering Forensic Anthropology; for the 80s this was a radical idea of thought as the 90s were only just on the fringe of beginning. Not quite your typical rising sixth grader who had a penchant for parapsychology ontop of digs, bones, and the past hidden below the ground!

I was always quite intrigued and motivated by the ‘explorers’ in fiction, as my favourite childhood adventurer series was penned by Frank Perretti and called the Cooper Kids Adventure Series. Ironically or not, it’s not a trilogy or a quad, and has more books in the series now than when I first read them as I have the original boxed set with the original illustrations! Smiles. It was a natural curiosity to become attached to Indiana Jones (movies 1, 3, and 4 respectively; the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles serial most definitely) and Lara Croft as brought to life by Angelina Jolie in the motion pictures. I truly loved Tia Carrere’s serial as well (Relic Hunter) but only had the pleasure of seeing it sporadically. Definitely a serial to see if I can borrow on dvd whilst I’m not gathering a ‘new to me’ BBC serial! (Hallo, Foyle’s War and Last Tango in Halifax!)

To me, living vicariously through adventure novels (oh, I had forgotten I read the novels for Indiana Jones too! oh! I had forgotten to mention the Graphic Novels, too!) is a wicked sweet joy of mine! I do not read adventure novels often enough, and it’s definitely an under-read area of literature I’d like to explore in the future! I even have my eyes on Classical Lit offerings such as the Joseph Conrad novels, and of course, definitely reading about Aubrey and Maturin throughout Master and Commander! I love a wide range of adventures, from deep sea diving to archaeological digs to the high sea epics of the historical past to a contemporary jewel heist or an espionage thriller. Honestly, there is so much randomness to the adventure genre that you just never know what you will uncover next! Isn’t that the beauty of it?! For me, it definitely is! Hence why I am grateful to have found Gigi Pandian and Henery Press!

Blog Book Tour | “Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery” by Gigi Pandian Readers who appreciate Lara Croft or Tia Carrere’s ‘Relic Hunter’ will happily find a new Professor Adventurer who finds extreme joy in digging up the past!Quicksand: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery
by Gigi Pandian
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Fayette Terlouw
Source: Author via France Book Tours

A thousand-year-old secret room. A sultan’s stolen treasure. A missing French priest. And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame…

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into France’s colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-941962-30-5

Series: ,


Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Archaeological | Anthropological Historical Perspectives, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Cosy Mystery


Published by Henery Press

on 10th March, 2015

Pages: 280

Published By: Henery Press (@HeneryPress), part of their Mystery Collection
Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

{ Book One: Artifact: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery }

Add to Riffle + Public Library

{ Book Two: Pirate Vishnu: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery }

Add to Riffle + Public Library

{ Prequel Novella of the series: Fool’s Gold part of ‘Other People’s Baggage’ Anthology }

Uniquely it is mentioned all three novellas in the set are inter-connected!

Add to Riffle + Public Library

Converse on Twitter via: #JayaJones

About Gigi Pandian

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After being dragged around the world during her childhood, she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school. But adventurous academics wouldn’t stay out of her head.

Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series (Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and
Quicksand
). Gigi’s debut mystery novel was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” Debut Novel by Suspense Magazine.
Her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards, and she also writes the new Accidental Alchemist mystery series.

She takes photos of gargoyles wherever she goes, and posts them on her Gargoyle Girl blog.

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Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Quicksand by Henery Press

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Posted Wednesday, 29 April, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Amateur Detective, ARC | Galley Copy, Archaeology, Art, Art History, Artwork Provenance, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Bookish Discussions, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, History, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Library Catalogues & Databases, Library Find, Library Love, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Scribd, Travel, Treasure Hunt

Blog Book Tour | “Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials” by Ovidia Yu a #cosy #mystery set in Singapore with a feisty amateur sleuth at the helm!

Posted Friday, 24 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Authors Websites: Site| @OvidiaVanda | Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #OvidiaYu

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Aunt Lee’s Deadly Specials” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Setting into the environment of Aunty Lee’s Delights: Meet Aunty Lee!

( on my readings of the first novel )

Oh! it is the name of a cafe! The title is reminiscent of a delectable foodie haunt where traditional Peranakan cuisine was served as regular as hearty conversative gossip! The manner of how Yu writes her novel has a curious in-step where the pace and delivery reminded me of the long ago letters from my Singaporean friends. The delivery of the scenes was quite unique and brought me back to the beautiful conversations I had with my friends, shared through paper and pen! Every language has it’s own style, and thereby each writer has a distinction of voice that is individualistically unique. With this novel, it is twofold – I could see a reflection of my friends’ voices through the writing style of Yu!

I champion the inclusion of local customs, words and phrases whenever a story is set in a place outside a readily known locale. It brings the setting to the level of feeling local and intimately familiar; as if we were not visiting the locale for the first time. Yu does this in such a natural way, it befits not only her characters but the overall texture of her novels!

Aunty Lee is a flamboyant woman who adores her experimentation of cooking whilst cooking and creating traditional foods with a dedicated quality of ingredients. She has a comfortability of being in harmony with herself as much as with her living environment and city. She asserts herself in situations and circumstances where she feels she has the most to give as much as what she can gain through the experience of being involved as well. Her attention to tasks at hand are slightly off-kilter to her sensational interest in current events which parlay into murder; this concentrated effort on her behalf means far more to her than the placement of her knife in relation to her fingers and the vegetables she is chopping on the board! Thankfully, Aunty Lee had the wisdom to hire Nina, a ‘jack of all trades’ as she is part maid, part assistant in arms, and part sous chef; all knowledge of trade are in combination with the medical arts, thereby circumventing any horrific disaster that could befall Aunty Lee!

Aunty Lee is a bit excluded from her family, partially out of death (of her late husband, being his second wife) and have by the status of her inheritance of his wealth which did not pass down to his son and daughter. Of the two, the wife of his son found this most insulting of all, although the son found nothing wrong with the arrangement on principle. Aunty Lee has the charming grace to face facts whilst embracing life as it arrives. The most delish moment of her day is the prospect of a murder washing ashore and walking into her life; as what could be more alluring than a mystery of an unexplained death?

Blog Book Tour | “Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials” by Ovidia Yu a #cosy #mystery set in Singapore with a feisty amateur sleuth at the helm!Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials
by Ovidia Yu
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow and amateur sleuth and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home-cooking restaurant, is back in another delectable, witty mystery involving scandal and murder among the city’s elite.

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung. Rumor has it that the Sungs’ fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sungs’, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is the guesthouse in the garden locked up—and what’s inside? Where is the missing guest of honor? Then Mabel Sung and her son, Leonard, are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal. To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Singaporean mysteries,


Genres: Cosy Mystery, Foodie Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on 30th September, 2014

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 384

Author Biography:

Ovidia Yu

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore’s best-known and most acclaimed writers. She has had more than thirty plays produced and is also the author of a number of mysteries. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Iowa’s International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore.

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Posted Friday, 24 October, 2014 by jorielov in Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host, Chefs and Sous Chefs, Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Cosy Mystery, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Disillusionment in Marriage, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Foodie Fiction, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Lady Detective Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Singapore, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Widows & Widowers, World Religions, Writing Style & Voice