Blogging A to Z: Day 15 – “Oriental” Mysteries: Cozy mysteries set in Asia or featuring Asian characters

Hey there, my fellow cozy mystery lovers! Are you ready for a journey that will take you across the world, from the comfort of your own reading nook? Well, strap in, because we’re about to explore the world of “oriental” mysteries!

Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, let me explain. I know that “oriental” is an outdated term that smacks of colonialism and exoticism. But, in the world of cozy mysteries, it’s a term that’s often used to describe stories that are set in Asia or feature Asian characters. And boy, are there some good ones out there!

But first, let’s back up a bit. For those of you who are new to the cozy mystery scene, let me give you a quick rundown. Cozy mysteries are like the literary equivalent of a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold winter’s night. They’re typically set in small towns or villages, and they feature amateur sleuths who solve crimes with a mix of wit, charm, and a healthy dose of nosiness. Think of them as Agatha Christie meets Gilmore Girls.

Now, back to “oriental” mysteries. Why should cozy mystery readers care about stories set in Asia or featuring Asian characters? Well, for starters, they offer a fresh perspective on the cozy mystery formula. You get to experience different cultures, customs, and cuisines, all while enjoying a good whodunit. Plus, it’s important to support diverse voices in literature, especially in a genre that’s historically been dominated by white, Western authors.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into some “oriental” mysteries and see what all the fuss is about!

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Okay, buckle up, y’all. We’re about to take a cozy mystery tour of Asia. You know, because nothing says “relaxing read” like murder and intrigue in a foreign land.

First up, we’ve got the “Sano Ichiro” series by Laura Joh Rowland.

Set in feudal Japan, this series follows a samurai detective as he solves crimes in the court of the shogun. Think “Law and Order: Edo Period”. Some popular titles in this series include “The Samurai’s Wife” and “The Concubine’s Tattoo”.

If China is more your speed, check out the “Red Princess” series by Lisa See.

These cozy mysteries feature a Chinese-American detective named Liu Hulan who investigates crimes in modern-day China. The first book in the series, “The Flower Net”, is a great introduction to Hulan and her world.

Last but not least, we have the “Vish Puri” series by Tarquin Hall.

Set in India, these cozy mysteries follow a private detective who calls himself “the Most Private Investigator”. With titles like “The Case of the Missing Servant” and “The Man Who Died Laughing”, you know you’re in for a good time.

So there you have it, folks. A cozy mystery tour of Asia that will transport you to another time and place… and make you glad you’re not the one solving the crimes.

And speaking of solving crimes, let’s get into the amazing Asian character doing the work.

First up, we have the “Lana Lee” series by Vivien Chien.

This series follows the adventures of a sassy Asian-American protagonist, Lana Lee, as she navigates the ins and outs of managing her family’s restaurant and solving murders on the side. The titles in this series are as pun-tastic as they are delicious, with names like “Death by Dumpling” and “Wonton Terror.”

We have the “Aunty Lee” series by Ovidia Yu.

This series is set in Singapore and stars a charismatic Chinese-Singaporean amateur detective named Aunty Lee, who runs a famous restaurant and often finds herself embroiled in murder investigations. The titles in this series are full of delicious food puns, like “Aunty Lee’s Delights”.

So, cozy mystery readers, if you’re looking to spice up your reading list with some Asian flavor, these series are definitely worth checking out. Whether you’re in the mood for mouth-watering food descriptions, exciting cultural experiences, or just a good old-fashioned murder mystery, these books have got you covered.

Now, y’all, let’s talk about why it’s so dang important to have diverse representation in cozy mysteries. I mean, sure, we all love our cozy little towns with their quirky residents and picturesque settings, but if we’re not careful, we can end up living in a bubble where everyone looks and thinks like us. And let’s be real, that’s boring as hell.

That’s where mysteries set in Asia or featuring Asian characters come in. They give us a chance to explore new cultures, learn about different ways of life, and see the world from someone else’s perspective. Plus, they’re just plain fun to read!

And let me tell you, the benefits of reading “oriental” mysteries (ugh, can we please retire that term?) are endless. Not only do they broaden our horizons and challenge our assumptions, but they also introduce us to some seriously badass characters.

I mean, have you met Rei Shimura? She’s a half-Japanese, half-American antiques dealer who solves crimes on the side. Or what about Inspector Chen, a Chinese police officer who navigates the complexities of communist China while solving murder cases? These characters are smart, strong, and utterly captivating.

So, yeah, let’s ditch the tired old stereotypes and embrace the rich diversity that the world has to offer. Cozy mysteries set in Asia or featuring Asian characters are just the tip of the iceberg, but they’re a darn good place to start. Let’s open up our minds and our reading lists and see what we can learn. Who knows? We might just surprise ourselves.

And that’s a wrap, my cozy mystery-loving friends! We’ve explored the world of “oriental” mysteries, featuring stories set in Asia or featuring Asian characters. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the tranquil temples of Bali, these mysteries will transport you to a whole new world of intrigue and excitement.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite cup of tea and settle in for a cozy afternoon with a new “oriental” mystery. You never know what kind of surprises await you in the pages of these books!

But in all seriousness, it’s important to recognize the value of diversity in literature. Reading stories from diverse perspectives helps us to broaden our horizons and understand the world around us in new ways. So let’s celebrate the many voices and cultures represented in cozy mysteries and beyond. Happy reading, friends!


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