Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Publisher: Berkley, 2021
Format: paperback, 320 pages
Genre: Murder | Mystery

Back Cover Blurb

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

What I Thought

Dial A for Aunties is an absolute blast of fun-filled, darkly twisted humour. And don’t get me started on the complicated family dynamics, which adds not only more humour but also a great deal of depth to this over-the-top family caper that’s worthy of it’s own sitcom.

Truly, Sutanto nails the archetypes of Ah Mas and Ah Yis perfectly, so much so I was nodding my head knowingly and grinning like an idiot. Yes, I’ve met some of these women in my own childhood, and remember them all with fond memories. They always all know what’s best even when they have no idea what’s best!

At it’s heart, Dial A for Aunties is both, at once, a comedy of errors and a heartfelt romance. Sutanto delivers on every level with the melodrama and humour, thanks to the idiosyncratic nature of the four sisters, while giving us a twisted joyride courtesy of the unexpected ‘death’, and throws in a bit of hot romance to stir our emotions even further. So that, when we’re not feeling it for poor dutiful Meddelin ‘Meddy’ Chan, we’re either laughing our socks off at the situation—which goes from bad, to worse, to OMG I can’t believe this happening—to swooning along with Meddy over the love of her life, Nathan.

Sutanto gives us the best kind of romantic comedy with plenty of misdirects, heartbreak, moments of sheer OTT fun, and suspend-your-sense-of-disbelief laugh out loud moments, as the 3 aunties and Meddy’s mother do their best to help their beloved niece and daughter get rid of the body … I never stopped laughing or shaking my head as hapless Meddy tries desperately to extract herself, and her aunties, from events as they spiral out of control.

I loved the aunties and their biting banter, and the wonderful insight into the family dynamics of their Chinese Indonesian heritage, traditions, and rituals. This is a fabulously entertaining and engaging read that tips into the territory of farce and the ridiculous which will make you laugh, while the romance will happily make you grin from ear to ear.

Sit back, let loose with Meddy and her meddlin’ aunts, and just have some fun!

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