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

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The main character of Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is Vera, an independent and inquisitive old lady who runs a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. One day, she discovers a dead man in her shop holding a flash drive. Believing she can solve the crime better than the police, Vera takes the flash drive and sets out to uncover the killer among her customers, all while forming unexpected friendships with them. As the protective mother hen, she may have to choose between turning in one of her new friends or protecting them. 

Book review of Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Sutanto is a quirky and humorous mystery novel with a cast of flawed characters. The book revolves around the murder of a man named Marshall Chen, and the investigation undertaken by the titular character Vera Wong, a Chinese mother who runs a tea-shop. The story follows Vera as she sets out to solve the mystery of the murder, making the acquaintance of five people who had relationships with the deceased, including his twin brother, wife, daughter, a programmer, and an artist. 

The novel’s strength lies in its characters, who are all flawed and broken in their own ways. Jesse Sutanto masterfully weaves their stories together, creating a complex and compelling web of relationships. The character of Vera Wong is particularly memorable, with her stereotypical Chinese mother persona, officious manner, and unintentional humor. She is a character that readers will either love or hate, but she is undeniably entertaining to read about. 

However, the book is not without its flaws. The mystery itself is the weakest aspect of the novel, as the solution is predictable from the outset. Additionally, the title Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers has almost nothing to do with the plot, which may disappoint readers who were drawn to the book by the title. 

One aspect of the book that may be off-putting to some readers is the way the characters are described. For example, Vera Wong is repeatedly referred to as “elderly” and “old lady”, despite being only 60 years old. This may seem like a small detail, but it can be frustrating for readers who do not see 60 as being particularly old. Similarly, the character of Emma, a two-year-old, is depicted as speaking in full sentences, which may stretch the bounds of believability for some readers.

Final verdict:

Despite these minor flaws, Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is an enjoyable and entertaining read. The novel’s quirky characters, humorous moments, and satisfying ending make it a great choice for readers looking for a light and fun mystery novel. While the mystery itself may not be particularly surprising, the characters are the real stars of the book, and readers will find themselves invested in their stories and relationships. 

Our Score


  • The characters are well-developed and flawed, making them interesting and relatable to readers. 
  • The author’s writing style is humorous, which adds to the book’s entertainment value. 
  • The ending is satisfying and ties up all loose ends in a way that is both unexpected and enjoyable. 


  • The mystery is predictable, which may disappoint readers who were hoping for a more surprising plot twist. 
  • The title of the book is misleading, as it has little to do with the actual plot, which may be confusing or disappointing to readers. 
  • The depiction of some characters, such as Vera Wong and Emma, may be unrealistic or off-putting to some readers. 
Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for MurderersPublisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (March 14, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593549228
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593549223
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.6 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.13 x 0.95 x 7.95 inches

About Article Author

Rachel Parker

Rachel Parker is an inveterate romantic. An author of romance books and stories for the past 10 years, she combines her writing life with her love of literary criticism, waiting for her prince charming to appear at any moment.
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