Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
Series: Noodle Shop Mystery #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on March 27, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 328
Format: eARC
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four-stars

Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that helping wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead—after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy—to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out—it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

Death by Dumpling has been sitting on my Kindle for longer than I’d like to admit. I know why I picked it up originally. The cover is great, it’s set in Cleveland, and it sounds like a fun mystery. I am so happy I finally got around to reading it. Lana is just quirky enough. She’s a bit down on her luck and has been moping around her apartment a little too much, but there’s nothing like being a potential murder suspect to get you out of the house again, at least if you’ve decided you need to solve the case before you or a friend is found guilty.

The Ho-Lee Noodle House is in an Asian-themed shopping center. They’re are plenty of regulars at the restaurant and most of the staff at the various shops all seem to know each other. It’s like a little community, and a lot of the folks are connected, friends, family, so when one of them is killed it affects them all.

For me, a cozy mystery needs to have at least a semi-realistic reason for the amateur sleuth to decide he/she needs to solve the mystery. This one worked. First, Lana is a bit out of sorts and talking to people, searching for clues, gets her out of the house. Second, she is a potential suspect, but the person the police are looking at too closely is a childhood friend and the best cook at the restaurant. Since he doesn’t seem to be doing much to help himself, she feels she needs to and her roommate is more than willing to help.

The mystery itself was fine. There were several suspects, and a lot of people had secrets, some important, some red herrings. I guessed who the killer was, but I wasn’t thrilled with the motive.

Lana, of course, has a couple of romantic possibilities, one being the detective in charge of the case. It didn’t distract me from the book and is almost a necessity in cozy mysteries it seems.

And of course, Death by Dumpling made me crave Chinese take-out. Instead, I made this Kung Pao spaghetti. It turned out pretty yummy.

About Vivien Chien

Vivien Chien

Vivien Chien first started writing simple stories about adventures with her classmates when she was in elementary school. As she grew up, her love of books and the written word increased, leading to the attempt of her first novel at age 16. After many struggled beginnings and several different genres, she found her passion in the mystery world.

When she’s not writing, she can be found frolicking in the bookstore or searching for her next bowl of noodles. She has a soft spot for doughnuts, a healthy love for coffee, and an extreme need to participate in random acts of crafting.

She currently lives in Cleveland where she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier.

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