Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
Series: Noodle Shop Mystery #6
Published by St. Martin's Press on August 25, 2020
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
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four-stars

Lana Lee is feeling stressed. Between updating her family's Chinese restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House, orchestrating a weekend long sidewalk sale for her restaurant and the other businesses in the Asia Village, and lending a sympathetic ear to just about everyone in her orbit, she's beat. Unfortunately, things are about to get even crazier for poor, overworked Lana.

June Yi, co-owner of Yi’s Tea and Bakery, has never been known for having a good-natured disposition, and those that deal with her tend never to cross her. But she meets her match when she rear-ends mahjong player Mildred Mao in the parking lot of Asia Village. Mildred is not only as nasty as June, but she also happens to be a little sue-crazy. When June refuses to pay up just the way Meredith demands, she threatens her with a lawsuit that could end up jeopardizing the Yi’s bakery business.

So when Mildred is found dead at the beauty salon, no one needs three guesses to come up with June's name, but June's twin Shirley insists on her sister's innocence. Enter: Lana Lee.

Once again, Lana must gather the clues and rumors surrounding Mildred's demise, and figure out whodunit. But with so much stacking up on Lana's plate, and too many familiar faces becoming suspects, Lana may be about to get the shock of her life...

I have to admit that one of the reasons I like the Noodle Shop mystery series is that it’s set in Cleveland. One of these days, maybe next summer, I’m going to get up there for a Night Market or maybe take a food tour. We’ve done a lot of the touristy things, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the museums, the zoo, but haven’t made it to the Asiatown neighborhood yet.

Lana is the manager of her family’s restaurant in Asia Village, a shopping complex. Lana’s a great main character, fun, smart and a bit sassy. Yes, she does almost always manage to put herself in danger – she is a cozy mystery sleuth after all. This time around, there’s been another murder at Asia Village. The dead woman, Mildred, was not well-liked, cheated at Mah Jong, and was sue-happy. When she’s killed at the hair salon, the obvious suspect is her most recent enemy, June. And honestly most people seem to think June was more than capable of killing her, and in fact probably did it. Lana, of course, has her doubts. The Asian community is small, and everyone seems to know everyone else and most of them have had some kind of run in with Mildred or June in the past, leading to a good set of suspects.

Lana is still dating her cop, Adam. He’s not too fond of her investigating, but has come to terms with it. Lana doesn’t have to sneak around and sometimes he even shares a tidbit with her. Lana’s sidekick, though, is her roommate Megan, who I like. She’s useful and encouraging and I like that both she and Lana have actual jobs that they can’t just ditch to go clue-hunting.

The solution to the mystery was well-done. The clues made sense, but I was still pleasantly surprised.

I really enjoy this series. It’s fun and light and the characters are entertaining. And Lana likes to read, which is always a plus for me.

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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