Death by Bubble Tea by Jennifer J. ChowDeath by Bubble Tea by Jennifer J. Chow
Series: LA Night Market #1
Published by Berkley on July 5, 2022
Source: Purchased
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 291
Format: Paperback
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Two cousins who start a food stall at their local night market get a serving of murder in this first novel of a delicious new cozy mystery series by Jennifer J. Chow, author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn't seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it's a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn't cooked in years, and she hardly considers Celine's career as a social media influencer as adequate experience, but because she's just lost her job at her local bookstore, she feels she has no choice.

Yale and Celine serve small dishes and refreshing drinks, and while business is slow, it eventually picks up thanks to Celine's surprisingly useful marketing ideas. They're quite shocked that their bubble tea, in particular, is a hit--literally--when one of their customers turns up dead. Yale and Celine are prime suspects due to the gold flakes that Celine added to the sweet drink as a garnish. Though the two cousins are polar opposites in every way, they must work together to find out what really happened to the victim or the only thing they'll be serving is time.

Death by Bubble Tea is the first in a series featuring Yale Yere and her cousin, Celine. Yale is not thrilled that Celine is in town for a visit and is even less excited when her father suggests the two of them work together at his restaurant’s food stand at the night market in their neighborhood. The evening surprisingly goes well, until Yale finds a dead body on her way home. The young woman is lying next to one of the distinctive glasses that Yale and Celine served their drinks in, so the police view them as suspects. Of course, Yale and Celine decide they need to do some snooping around and find the cops better people to be interested in.

I really wanted to like this book, but I found Yale annoying. She doesn’t have a cell phone. She doesn’t drive because of her mother’s death. She doesn’t seem to have any friends and she’s given up cooking. Celine, who is supposedly spoiled and self-centered, was the more likable of the two.

The mystery itself is fine, although I don’t understand why people kept talking to Yale and Celine. Most of the suspects were essentially strangers. The whodunnit it was guessable, but not overly obvious. I just didn’t care about the characters which matters to me in a cozy mystery. I don’t think I’ll be reading the next in the series.

About Jennifer J. Chow

Jennifer J. Chow writes cozies filled with hope and heritage. She is an Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Lilian Jackson Braun Award-nominated author. Her newest series is the Magical Fortune Cookie mysteries; the first book is Ill-Fated Fortune. Jennifer’s previous series is the L.A. Night Market Mysteries. Death by Bubble Tea was reviewed by the New York Times, featured in Woman’s World, and hit the SoCal Indie Bestseller List. Jennifer currently serves as Immediate Past President on the board of Sisters in Crime and blogs at She is an active member of Crime Writers of Color and Mystery Writers of America.

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