Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Review: Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien (Noodle Shop Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, fun characters
Cons: Some of Lana’s relationships need growth
The Bottom Line:
Death of a new friend
Sends Lana looking for clues
Strong second entry

Fear Not, This is a Fun Book

Just because I don’t return to a series quickly doesn’t mean I don’t want to.  It just means there are too many books out there calling my name.  Take Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries as an example.  I enjoyed the first book when I read it two years ago enough to want to read the sequel, but I’ve just now been able to pick up Dim Sum of All Fears.

For our protagonist, Lana Lee, it’s just been a few weeks since she solved her first murder, and she’s hoping to move on with her life.  In that time, she’s started to form a friendship with the newlyweds who have opened a souvenir store next to Ho-Lee Noodle House, Lana’s family restaurant.  Isabelle, especially, has become a good friend of Lana’s very quickly since the two have bonded over their mutual love of mystery novels.

Which makes it very personal for Lana when Isabelle and her husband, Brandon, are found dead one morning.  Something about the scene feels off to Lana.  Despite warnings, she begins to poke around to see what she can figure out.  Will she wind up solving the murder?

The mystery in this book is very strong.  Lana’s personal connection definitely makes the deaths feel very real, so that does make the book feel a little more serious than some of the cozies I read, and I liked that.  As Lana begins investigating, she finds multiple surprises along the way, and I couldn’t wait to see where they were all going to lead.  This is a well plotted mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

I also liked the characters.  Lana is a relatable, sympathetic protagonist.  Her friends are also wonderful.  I get that her family annoys her, but they are my biggest issue with the book.  I hope those relationships mature soon since I find how they treat Lana very frustrating.  Likewise, I hope that Lana and detective Adam Trudeau, also her love interest, manage to work through some of their issues soon.  Still, these are minor complaints.  I really did enjoy the book for the most part, and if these issues improve as the characters grow over the course of the series, I’ll be perfectly fine with it.

A quick word of warning, there are brief discussions about the first mystery that Lana solved, including a spoiler.  So if you want to read the first book in the series unspoiled you’ll have to either read the series in order (always my recommendation) or let enough time go after reading this book that you won’t remember who done it.

Dim Sum of All Fears is a great second book.  Reading it, it is easy to see why this series has such a loyal following.

Need more noodles?  Here are the rest of the Noodle Shop Mysteries.


  1. Great review Mark! I agree, her family relationships need some work. Looking forward to continuing in the series.

  2. I really enjoy this series. It might be in part because it's set in Cleveland, a city I'm at least semi-familiar with.


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