Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Book Review: Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien (Noodle Shop Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Mostly fun characters in entertaining mystery
Cons: Lana’s mother; pacing in middle
The Bottom Line:
Wrong dumpling order
Leads Lana to mystery
Fun series debut

Lana Finds Herself Delivering Death

In my quest to never catch up on my to be read mountain range, I decided I needed another new series to read.  Enter Death by Dumpling, set in a Chinese restaurant.  I just couldn’t pass it up, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Lana Lee is exactly where she didn’t want to be.  In her late mid-20’s, she’s working as a waitress at her parents’ Chinese restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodle House.  It’s just temporary until she gets her life back together – or at least that’s what she’s telling herself.

But, despite what she thinks, Lana hasn’t hit rock bottom yet.  After dropping off a lunch order for Mr. Feng, the owner of the Chinese village where Ho-Lee Noodle House is located, he dies from his sever shellfish allergy.  Yes, he was eating shellfish dumplings, however Lana thought she was delivering pork dumplings like always.  The police start asking questions of Peter, the restaurant’s cook.  Lana knows Peter couldn’t have done it, but things aren’t adding up.  Was Peter involved in the crime?  If not, who was?

This series is off to a good start.  We get to meet Lana and a fun cast of characters.  She and her best friend Megan make for a great team.  The other shop owners in the center make for intriguing suspects and potential series regulars.  I’m sure we will be getting to know some of them better as the series progresses.  Lana has some issues with her family that I hope we get to explore more in future books.  I really hope her mother gets better developed as the series goes along.  I felt she was the flattest of the characters here, but that can definitely change as the series progresses.

The plot started out well, with Mr. Feng dying before too many pages had gone by.  I did feel that things bogged down a little in the middle as Lana searched for anything that would help her figure out what had truly happened.  However, as we reached the final third of the book, things picked up again with some great twists and revelations before we reached the climax.

Unlike other culinary themed cozy novels, this one doesn’t have any recipes at the end.  But considering how long it has been since I did more than drool at the recipes included, that doesn’t make any difference to me.

Death by Dumpling is a promising debut that will leave you wanting more.  I may not need any new series to follow, but I’m very glad I picked this one up.  I’ll definitely be back for seconds.

Order more with the rest of the Noodle Shop Mysteries.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you started another series. How do you keep them all straight in your mind LOL