Ill-Fated Fortune
April 5, 2024

Book Review

Ill-Fated Fortune

reviewed by Warner Holme

Jennifer L. Chow’s Ill-Fated Fortune is a cozy mystery that revolves around a family-owned bakery renowned for its unique fortune cookies, crafted by protagonist Felicity Jin.

Despite the fierce competition from a large, impersonal fortune cookie factory, Felicity manages to secure a contract over them, only to find her competitor dead shortly after—a twist that places her high on the suspect list. Amidst caring for her ailing mother and navigating the interference of her well-meaning but intrusive relatives, Felicity is determined to uncover the truth behind the crime.

A refreshing departure from typical cozy mysteries, Ill-Fated Fortune features a charming rabbit instead of the traditional dog or cat. This rabbit, adorably described and integrated into the Jin family, adds a magical touch to the story, hinting at a fine line between the magical and the mundane. This element, along with the inclusion of a fortune cookie recipe and floral decoration tips at the book’s end, invites speculation about the series’ future direction. Will subsequent volumes explore new culinary creations or delve deeper into floral art?

Romantic elements, often prominent in cozy mysteries, take a backseat in this narrative. While potential love interests for Felicity emerge, their roles are subdued, allowing the story to focus more on familial bonds—particularly highlighting an influential aunt, which diverges from the genre’s typical emphasis on solitary parental figures.

Ill-Fated Fortune offers a delightful introduction to a promising series. With its engaging plot, endearing characters, and subtle cultural nuances, it stands as a captivating foray into the cozy mystery genre, especially appealing to those who appreciate an Asian American perspective. As readers eagerly await the series’ evolution, this book establishes a solid foundation for what promises to be an enthralling saga.

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