Jesse Q. Sutanto’s book Dial A for Aunties is not your average murder mystery novel. If you are looking for your next terrifying whodunnit thriller, then it’s best to continue looking—Dial A for Aunties is not that book. It is, however, a hilariously entertaining and completely absurd murder mystery slash rom com. At its heart, though, Dial A for Aunties is about family, sacrifice, and communicating across languages, cultures, and generations.
Meddelin “Meddy” Chan is the photographer for her family’s wedding business. Meddy, her mom, and her aunts try their best to deliver on the business motto: “Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”
When Meddy agrees to go on a blind date at the behest of her mother and aunts, she has no clue that by the end of the night, she will have his dead body on her hands. And when her mother finds out, she enlists the help of her aunts to figure out how to get rid of the body. With a huge wedding planned for the next day, the Chan women struggle to hide the evidence while trying to deliver on a flawless wedding. And things are only made more difficult when Meddy runs into her college sweetheart at the wedding while trying to get rid of her blind date’s dead body.
As many other reviewers have said, this book requires readers to suspend their disbelief. Getting caught up in the logistics and details of the different possibilities takes away from the incredible reading experience of being swept away by the magic. The perfect pacing, complex characters and comedic dialogue made Dial A For Aunties an immediate compelling page-turner. The book’s comedic and dramatic elements felt perfect for adaptation as a soap opera or movie. Even while the book requires readers to suspend their disbelief, it was fun and hilarious, and easy to picture for the screen.
At the heart of the story, the difficulties of obligation and sacrifice especially within immigrant families and the complex family relationships between the Chans was incredibly well-developed. Meddy also undergoes significant character development, beginning the book as a character who struggled to speak up for herself and understand her own wants and needs. The internal conflict involving a sense of familial obligation paired with the complex family relationships lend themselves well to Meddy’s character development throughout the book.
Dial A for Aunties was a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you’re looking for something uplifting with dark humor, spontaneity, and a bit of romance sprinkled in, this may be a good choice for your next read.
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto was published on April 27, 2021.