Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien
Series: Noodle Shop Mystery #7
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 9, 2021
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
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three-half-stars

Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly―and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.

Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school―and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks.

I love that Lana decides to take Chinese cooking classes without letting her family know. It just feels so in character. And of course, her teacher would end up dead, killed after the first class. Lana found the body, so is apparently the number one suspect, even though she didn’t know Margo Chan. Lana has to find the real killer before the detective on the case decides she’s guilty.

Aside from finding the body, Lana doesn’t have much of a connection to the case, which makes her “snooping” a little awkward. Why do the people she questions tell her anything, aside from her reputation maybe? And why does Detective Bishop seem so convinced Lana’s guilty? The plot fits together well, although the solution is a little weak.

Lana is a fun character, smart, a little reckless, caring. Her usual Watson is her roommate Megan, who was working a bit too much this time around, leaving Lana with another friend, Kimmy, as back-up. I love how Lana’s friends and family rally around her, even though they may grouse and grumble about her involvement. The characters are a blast to spend time with; they are the reason I keep coming back to the series.

Fatal Fried Rice was a quick, enjoyable read. It’s fun and light and made me want to order Chinese take-out.

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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