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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
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