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Aunty Lee's Delights

(Singaporean Mystery #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,171 ratings  ·  418 reviews
This delectable and witty mystery introduces Rosie "Aunty" Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth and proprietor of Singapore's best-loved home cooking restaurant

After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could easily have become one of Singapore's "tai tai," an idle rich lady devoted to mah-jongg and luxury shopping. Instead she threw herself into building a culinary empire from her
Paperback, 264 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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 ·  2,171 ratings  ·  418 reviews

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A fun murder mystery and a solid 4 stars

So without the recommendation of one of my good GR friends I would never have known about this book, so I am grateful to Martin for his apt intervention in bringing this to my attention.

I do love mystery or detective books, from Holmes to Morse, from Poirot to Barnaby, from Marple to Foyle, so this was an enjoyable interlude once I finally managed to get hold of the book. I suppose because this is a book set in Singapore, it is more geared to the southern
The mettlesome (and meddlesome) Aunty Lee and the mouthwatering descriptions of her Singaporean cooking are this book’s special sauce, spicing up an otherwise bland and rather undercooked mystery.

In the beginning I was quite taken with this lovable busybody Aunty Lee, always cooking up a storm, and together with the setting of Singapore and the frequent foodie references, this cozy mystery was indeed shaping up to be a delight. Alas, it all fell apart rapidly, with the resolution of the whodunn
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Singapore - a safe, law abiding city.
But by the shores of Sentosa Island - a tourist paradise - are two dead women.
Aunty Lee, cafe owner and busybody cannot rest until she solves the murders.

Two newly-weds take an early morning walk along the beautiful beach. . .
“Over there. It looks like a jellyfish; is it? It’s huge!”
“It’s not a jellyfish. It’s just a plastic bag . . .”
“Yes, it’s a jellyfish—I can see its body and its legs and everything. Can’t you see? I think it’s dead. Are there poisonous
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A fun read from a well loved Singaporean author - a crime novel set at her family restaurant. First in a series and I found it in hoopla! Recommended for people who already read the Kevin Kwan novels and want more with a similar feel. I'll definitely read more in this series. ...more
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Motherly, list compiling, sharp but with a tendency to act strategically distracted, Auntie Lee is a wealthy Singaporean widow who runs a restaurant just because she’s curious (nosy) and enjoys being of service, though not everyone actually appreciates this. When the bodies of two young women wash up on the local beach Auntie Lee is convinced the police could use her help--after all, both women have eaten at her restaurant--and she’s not wrong because tasty gifts of Singaporean delicacies allow ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it liked it
As most of you know by know, I'm a huge mystery fan, though I tend to prefer older mysteries over the ones being written today. With very few exceptions, I'm not a fan of "cozy" mysteries, and the vast majority of modern mysteries I have enjoyed, tend to be more along the lines of a police procedural. With all that in mind, you may be surprised that I agreed to review Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu. As you can tell from the synopsis, this is what most would consider a "cozy" mystery. It's a l ...more
Vicky Marie
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Too many unnecessary povs. The story was bogged down with tons of back story that brought nothing to the plot, and the characters were all unlikeable. I was looking forward to this series, but alas it looks like I won't be continuing it. ...more
Lyn Elliott
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A thoroughly enjoyable light mystery set in Singapore, Aunty Lee’s Delights is the first of several in a series featuring insatiably curious restaurant owner, the middle-aged widow known as Aunty Lee.
I most enjoyed the Singapore background and characters, the plot rattles along well enough without any major surprises and Aunty Lee, like Miss Marple, helps the police to find their way to the villain.
I'm a fan of culinary mysteries and this one was chock full of scrumptious descriptions of Singaporean cuisine. The protagonist is an elderly widow, a busybody and divine cook. Overflowing with local flavor.
Immensely enjoyed this book and will be continuing the series.
I was fortunate enough to meet and spend time with Ovidia Yu at last year's Bouchercon in Albany. She is without a doubt one of the nicest, most gracious people I've ever met. I didn't know of her successful background as one of Singapore's premiere writers at that time, and she never allluded to it. Humble is another adjective to add to nice and gracious, as is intelligent. So, I was able to get a copy of Aunty Lee's Delights, her first published U.S. work, and have it signed by Ovidia. Now, I ...more
Max Tang
Aug 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Before reading: I like mystery, and I love food. The book promises an adventure set in Singapore, a country that I would love to learn more about, set with the backdrop of a local diner, run by the nosy, if ultimately helpful, Rosie “Auntie” Lee. Reminds me of murder mystery dinners, and I would like to see how such a premise would play out in a book.
The Great: I really enjoyed how the author portrayed Singapore’s culture. It’s evident that the author is familiar with its culture and customs, an
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I tend to justify this prolonged sojourn with mystery books as a vacation break. With that perspective, Aunty Lee is quite enjoyable. A well-off widow who bores easily with the upper crust life, she first starts a catering business. Then, she expands it to a restaurant and we witness her debut as an amateur detective. Entertaining but not compelling, I am sure that somewhere down the line I will pick up another book in the series.

Has Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple been the role-model for elderly
Irene Sauman
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a cultural as well as a culinary view of Singapore, cultural in the sense of the people and their attitudes.
Aunty Lee has opened an eatery known as Aunty Lee's Delights following the death of her husband.
She understands people by the way they eat and she applies this to solving the murders that comes her way and in dealing with relationships. These include her stepson Mark and his wife Selina, who's name Aunty Lee pronounces as "Silly-Nah", her maid Nina and Senior Staff Sergeant Salim.
3.5 stars

The title character and her cooking are absolutely the highlights of Aunty Lee’s Delights. The prose feels a bit stilted and choppy in places, and the mystery becomes overly complicated, I think. I’ve had this book on my radar for a while, and I’m glad I read it, but I doubt I’ll continue with the series.
Dawn Michelle
This was an interesting book in many ways.
This wasn't even on my radar as I had bought this for my Mom [after she bought the second book at at book sale] and then my friend that I am doing the Read Around the World challenge with mentioned that the author is from Singapore and that the mystery itself was set in Singapore and voila! we decided to read it.

I will say that this book is somewhat choppy - it seems...jumpy? if that is the right word. At certain points, I wasn't really sure just who w
Nov 08, 2015 rated it liked it
In Ovidia Yu's Aunty Lee's Delights, the first installment in the Singaporean culinary cozy mystery series, we were introduced to life and culture in Singapore's beaches. It all started when a body was washed up on the shore, when two young women were reported missing. For "Aunty" Lee, it was up to discover the truth behind the disappearance of the two young women and how they knew each other. Lurking in the midst was a slimy character named Harry Sullivan who had a shady past and mucked things ...more
Sharon Chance
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a pure delight to read! I want an Aunty Lee in my life. This delightful, but nosy little plump Singaporean lady could go up against Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher and come out a winner.

This fun and lively mystery is fast-paced, filled with memorable characters that you will love (and in Aunty's niece-in-law's case, dislike a little!) and an intriguing mystery to boot! What more could you ask for? Plus you get to learn a whole lot about Singapore and it's foodie culture!

I adored this book a
Rainy Rose
Aug 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book is all about this one kaypoh Aunty Lee who played detective on murder cases of two young women who used to eat at her cafe, Aunty Lee's Delights. Kaypoh means busybody here, because she kept turning here and there, interrogating everyone that seemed related to the case. She's doing the police's job more than the polices themselves in this book! And the reason? Because she felt that anyone who ate her food automatically became her family (I seriously can't wrapped my head around this re ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I wanted a non-North American/European based cozy for the 2019 Read Harder challenge, so I grabbed this one, which was just perfect for my needs. Charming and breezy, Yu's heroine, Aunty Lee, resembles her inspiration -- Miss Marple -- with her nosiness, compassion, and smarts. Yu focuses less on the whodunit and more on the circumstances that bred the secrets, guilt, and sorrows that inspired the crimes, which I loved. Social commentary on Singaporean life, lots of luscious food, and a lovely c ...more
Jun 07, 2021 rated it liked it
I like the characters more than I like the mystery, and really it is Aunty Lee that sells it. She is the Singaporean Miss Marple, or to put it another way, that busy body Auntie who solves crimes while she scolds you for leaving food on your plate.

The background characters made me worried as many of them were dicks and homophobes, but the ending messaging makes it clear that that is the opinion of the characters not the author.

The weakest element was the mystery which was just okay. I wish we go
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I ordered Aunty Lee's Delights after seeing the enthusiastic blurb by Louise Penny, one of my favorite authors. There were a lot of things that drew me to Ovidia Uy's detective novel. I'm a huge fan of detective cozies and I've spent plenty of time in Southeast Asia and was looking forward to a mystery set in Singapore.

Aunty Lee reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple. We learn that Aunty Lee has a reputation for solving small mysteries among her friends and acquaintances. When s
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I feel almost evil commenting on Ovidia Yu - THE Ovidia Yu who wrote all those wonderful plays but I promised her I was going to be honest with her writing effort.

Aunty Lee does follow the stereotype of all those nosy ladies who solve crimes while having other things to do in life (it's call work/life balance, guys) and she feels comfortably Singaporean (I have a sneaky suspicion Ovidia took her inspiration from a certain dining/antique shop along Katong)

The language is not flowery (which does m
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I came to this book through a search in order to recommend a crime novel for my book club. I wanted a novel about crime detection set in Asia and by an Asian author, rather than an ex-pat. Ovidia Yu's books fit the bill. I think I chose well. Aunty Lee is smart, observant and persistent - in the style of cosy, wise woman/busybody sleuths. Instead of knitting, Aunty Lee cooks. In the style of some US cosy crime, the book comes with one of Aunty Lee's recipes at the back.

The characters are interna
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If Miss Marple were a spicy, nosy Singaporean lady who lived and loved to feed people at her restaurant, that would be Aunty Lee! I loved reading this book and its delicious descriptions of the people and food that make up Singapore. Like any good dish, it is only the mixture of different ingredients that truly makes a dish a masterpiece, and Ovidia Yu has done a masterful job of creating characters that truly live. The plot was twisty in all the right ways. You MUST read this book. I, myself, c ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Although I borrowed this book expecting a light food cozy mystery, I was very pleasantly surprised that this book, while still a cozy mystery, and still containing many mouth-watering descriptions of food, is also a character-driven social commentary of life in Singapore. The way in which Ovidia Yu describes the characters, including all their faults, secrets, and class/cultural prejudices, with nuance and compassion shows her personal knowledge and experience growing up and living in Singapore. ...more
Shuhada Ramli
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Rating : 2.5 stars

Review : The first 50 pages were intriguing, even though I have started to get bored with the same repetitive matters arisen about the mystery of the disappearance of Laura Kwee and Marianne Peter. Although that was the motive of the story, but I found it very boring to read the same thing for about half of the book and still couldn’t imagine what is next. I guess, Shadow Play (by Barbara Ismail) is better than this. There are parts that I enjoyed, but the interest in reading t
Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)
Aunty Lee decided rather than swanning around being a rich widow she would prefer to DO something, with that in mind she set up her cafe/restaurant.  It normally only served food during the day but every so often she and her maid/assistant (Nina) would cook food for an evening event (normally for her stepson, Mark - who is trying to make a go of being a wine merchant, having failed at his previous attempts at starting companies!)

At this particular gathering it appears that various people are wan
Susan Lee
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, it was an interesting read which reminded me a lot of Miss Marple. I wonder if Ovidia Yu had been inspired by Agatha Christie in this instance.

Here's my full review:
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Still searching for a Maisie Dobbs replacement. This is close but not quite right. Loved the food reference but things got wrapped up just a little too nicely.
In life as in recipes, it was often the smallest pinch of contrasting flavor -the lightest splash of seasoning savored undetected- that made all the difference to a dish.
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Singaporean Mystery (4 books)
  • Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials (Singaporean Mystery #2)
  • Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge (Singaporean Mystery #3)
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“As Aunty Lee always said, you can’t cut out bad memories without removing part of your heart, but you can always create good memories to override them.” 4 likes
“As far as Aunty Lee was concerned, people ought to go through the ideas they carried around in their heads as regularly as they turned out their store cupboards. No matter how wisely you shopped, there would be things in the depths that were past their expiration dates or gone damp and moldy---or that has been picked up on impulse and were no longer relevant. Aunty Lee believed everything inside a head or cupboard could affect everything else in it by going bad or just taking up more space than it was worth.” 4 likes
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