Monday, March 26, 2018

Death by Dumpling - Review


The First Noodle Shop Mystery

It started with a nasty breakup with her boyfriend followed by quitting her job. Now Lana Lee is working at her parents' restaurant in order to pay her bills and keep her apartment. Being back at Ho-Lee Noodle House isn't the end of the world, but things get much worse when Mr. Feng, landlord of the Asia Village Plaza, is found dead after eating the lunch Lana brought him. To save the reputation of the restaurant as well as prove herself innocent, Lana sets out to solve the murder herself.

DEATH BY DUMPLING is a solid start to a new series. Lana Lee is a fun protagonist with a biting wit. I love seeing the family dynamics as the adult daughter has to deal with being back, if not home, at her second home, her parents' Chinese restaurant. Her mom just wants her to find a husband and eat while her dad continues to treat her more like a child than the 27 year old woman she is. The secondary characters are fun too, from the gossipy Mahjong Matrons to the equally gossipy women from Asian Accents and the horrible Kimmy Tran! My favorite person is the enigmatic Mr. Zhang. I hope we get to read more about him in future books.

Vivien Chien brings a wonderful cultural flair to her Noodle Shop Mystery series. Loads of interesting characters, most with secrets and hidden pasts, provide interest as well as possible motives. A well plotted mystery sprinkled with humor and a light seasoning of romantic interest make DEATH BY DUMPLING a terrific debut!