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 make it a breeze to read) and what is a good mystery without being peppered with an assortment of multiracial characters (and the young malay inspector who knows silat)?
Interestingly enough, she doesn't write PC dialogue so there are comments/set pieces/dialogues that would feel out of place in our more enlightened times (I can hear Aunty Lee chortling) and it does reflect the darker side of how people view/judge each other in their own privacy, which is really rare.
The plot does take a strange turn half way into the book and if 1/2 a star need to be taken off the rating, it would be the heady rush in which the plot unfolds itself like a deep fried onion from Outback steakhouse, revealing many secrets at a go.
I would have preferred it to be a more gently fried keropok instead. A piece unfurling at a time.
Nevertheless, I look forward to book 2 (I am sure we will hear more from Nina, the foreign domestic help with a mind of her own, like all good side kick)
Tighter plot lines please.