Title: Death by Dumpling
Author: Vivien Chien
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Page Count: 352
My rating: 3 stars
About the book:
Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .
The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that helping wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.
Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead—after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy—to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out—it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien is the first book in the new cozy A Noodle Shop Mystery series. The series brings a bit of diversity to the genre by being set in the Asian Village Plaza, a mall with the shops full of Chinese culture.
Lana Lee has found herself returning home to her parents and working in their restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House. When one of the staff asks Lana to pitch in and deliver an order to Mr. Feng, the plaza’s property manager, little did she know it would end up putting her in the middle of the murder case.
After Mr. Feng’s order was dropped off Lana had returned to the restaurant only to have everyone in a panic shortly after when it became clear Mr. Feng had been found dead. The problem for Lana was it looks like the food she’d taken may have been the cause of his death putting her and the cook in the line of the investigation.
While Death by Dumpling was a solid start to this new Asian flavored cozy there was a bit of a spark missing for me personally to absolutely fall in love with the series just yet. As anyone knows that has read my cozy reviews before I tend to love series that are oozing eccentricity or quirkiness and I don’t think that stood out much in this one unfortunately.
I did however enjoy visiting Lana’s culture for a bit and the setting within this series. Lana was about as realistic as a young adult of Asian descent that’s been raised in America could be, she is on the edge between the cultures which is normally the case in that age where he parents and other adults around her are what give more glimpses at the culture. When finished with this one I’d definitely try the next to see if the author could give the series a bit more of it’s own unique spark to make it shine going forward.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Vivien Chien was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home, making for some very interesting cultural experiences. She found her love of books and the written word at an early age while writing short stories about her classmates in elementary school. Currently, she writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier who refuses to sit anywhere else. When she’s not writing, Vivien enjoys frequenting local Asian restaurants, frolicking in the bookstore, and searching for her next donut.