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Friday, April 05, 2019

China-Infused Cozy an Entertaining Delight

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Lana Lee is a spunky, independent woman whose career goals do not include waitressing at Ho-Lee Noodle House, her family's Chinese restaurant.  A dramatic walkout at her last job, however, leaves her little choice.  Now she's taking orders, bussing tables, and trying to ignore her mother's constant needling about finding Lana a husband.  

Lana's got enough problems without becoming a suspect in a murder investigation, but that's what happens after she delivers a takeout order for the restaurant's too-busy chef.  Everyone at Ho-Lee knew about Thomas Feng's shellfish allergy—so how did the property manager end up eating a shrimp dumpling that left him dead?  Now, the whole restaurant staff, as well as the other proprietors in the Asian Village strip mall Feng owned, are under suspicion for offing their landlord.  Motives abound, but who actually did the dirty deed?  In order to clear her name, Lana launches her own investigation, despite being warned off by the handsome detective who's in charge of the case.  Can she identify the killer before she finds herself in the slammer?  Or, worse, in the morgue?

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with cozy mysteries.  They appeal because they're light and clean, without all the grimness and gore that can be difficult to stomach in heavier mysteries/thrillers.  However, they're too often poorly written, with cliché characters, predictable plots, and improbable, unrealistic situations.  So, I'm picky about which ones I read.  When someone (Katherine, probably) mentioned the Noodle Shop Mystery series by Vivien Chien, I decided to give it a go.  And, guess what?  I enjoyed Death by Dumpling, the series opener, quite a lot!  It's a fun, easy read featuring a unique setting, likable characters, and an engaging plot.  The mystery is pretty straightforward, but I didn't get it all figured out until the end of the story.  Overall, then, I found Death By Dumpling an enjoyable, entertaining read.  Immediately after finishing it, I checked the next book out from the library so I could continue with this delightful series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of cozy mysteries by Ellie Alexander, Lena Gregory, Hannah Fluke, etc.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and some violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I keep seeing this book on people's blogs. It must be a sign that I should read it, too. ;D

    1. You should. It's light and diverting.

  2. I've seen this at the library! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've never actually read a cozy mystery before (I'm not a huge fan of mysteries in general) but I've got a copy of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie that I'll read before too long. I fully expect to never figure out whodunit, because I NEVER do. :D All my critical thinking skills fly out the window and I almost never figure out the perpetrator (but when I do, I feel like a total rockstar, haha!).

    1. Ha ha. I read TONS of mystery/thrillers and I still can't usually figure out whodunit! I'm very gullible and fall for every red herring. LOL.

      I've heard lots of good things about THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, but I haven't read it yet. I'll be interested to see what you think of it!

  3. I agree with your issues with cozy mysteries. They can be a bit like Hallmark movies sometimes - beyond easily predictable. I read the 2nd book in this series and enjoyed it and found it nicely different. It's definitely a series I need to pay more attention to.

    1. Yeah, I'm enjoying the series. Thanks for recommending it to me!

  4. This sounds cute and fun, in a mystery sort of way.

    1. It is fun. I mean, yes, there's murder and mayhem, but there's nothing graphic. The book remains light and entertaining throughout.

  5. I read a lot of cozy mysteries and agree with you. Some/many are too light and fluffy and predictable. I enjoy the ones with a bit more meat or eccentric characters. I enjoyed your review Susan and will need to check out this series (not that I don't already have way to many books on my TBR). Thanks for sharing this one.

    1. Me, too. This one doesn't have a lot of "meat" per se, but it's a fun one that I feel is better written than most.


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