Cover Image: Death by Dumpling

Death by Dumpling

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this first book. Lana is working at her mother's noodle shop in an Asian Shopping Plaza. After delivering a lunch order to the owner of the plaza he is found dead. To clear the chef's and her name she sets out to solve the crime herself. I really enjoyed the characters and the Noodle shop setting. The mystery was good with plenty of suspects to make it interesting. There are lots of twists and turns and the solution made sense. The writing was good and it was a quick easy read. I look for word to reading more in this series. Enjoy

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This is the first entry in what is now a seven book series. The setting and characters are both enjoyable. 

Protagonist Lana moved away from her family but finds herself back with them and their restaurant after a series of setbacks.  She is not eager to be living with her mother whose deepest wish is for Lana to get married.  She had also not expected to be back working at her family's restaurant.  Nor was she expecting to be investigating a murder.  But, of course, life does not always go as expected.


If you are a reader who enjoys cozies, you may well find yourself reading this novel, maybe even with a good dinner!  Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

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This is so original, and a refreshing change from other cozy mysteries. Loved the Asian neighborhood setting. Lana Lee makes a great amateur sleuth. Nice start to the series. Can't wait to read more!

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This is a series that I have had on my TBR since this first book in the series came out in March 2018. I was able to get my hands on the audiobook and gave it a listen. It was a fun story with some interesting characters. Lana Lee is back working at her family business, The Ho-Lee Noodle House in Cleveland. The restaurant is in a touristy plaza called the Asian Market. Rumours abound that the owner is going to raise the rent and many of the business owners are worried. When he dies from anaphylactic shock, it is determined that he was murdered. He had a serious seafood allergy and the dumplings he ate were shrimp, not the normal ones he always ordered. When the cook from the Noodle House is arrested, Lana does her best to find the real culprit to get her friend and co-worker off the hook.

I really liked protagonist Lana Lee. She was smart, had a great sense of humour, was pretty astute when it came to first impressions of people, was loyal and did not give up easily. The secondary characters were also well written and played important roles in the story. There were several suspects, a lot of clues dropped along the way and of course red herrings to keep the reader guessing. I enjoyed the strong cultural theme and family drama which results when a young woman returns home, single and without a job. The story was well-written and plotted, the characters well-developed and the ending was climactic and interesting. Of course, there is the obligatory budding romance that is often present in cozies, but I do like Lana's possible romantic interest. A great start to a new series. I look forward to seeing what is next for Lana Lee.

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Death by Dumpling has been sitting on my Kindle for longer than I’d like to admit. I know why I picked it up originally. The cover is great, it’s set in Cleveland, and it sounds like a fun mystery. I am so happy I finally got around to reading it. Lana is just quirky enough. She’s a bit down on her luck and has been moping around her apartment a little too much, but there’s nothing like being a potential murder suspect to get you out of the house again, at least if you’ve decided you need to solve the case before you or a friend is found guilty.

The Ho-Lee Noodle House is in an Asian-themes shopping center. They’re are plenty of regulars at the restaurant and most of the staff at the various shops all seem to know each other. It’s like a little community, and a lot of the folks are connected, friends, family, so when one of them is killed it affects them all.

For me, a cozy mystery needs to have at least a semi-realistic reason for the amateur sleuth to decide he/she needs to solve the mystery. This one worked. First, Lana is a bit out of sorts and talking to people, searching for clues, gets her out of the house. Second, she is a potential suspect, but the person the police are looking at too closely is a childhood friend and the best cook at the restaurant. Since he doesn’t seem to be doing much to help himself, she feels she needs to and her roommate is more than willing to help.

The mystery itself was fine. There were several suspects, and a lot of people had secrets, some important, some red herrings. I guessed who the killer was, but I wasn’t thrilled with the motive.

Lana, of course, has a couple of romantic possibilities, one being the detective in charge of the case. It didn’t distract me from the book and is almost a necessity in cozy mysteries it seems.

And of course, Death by Dumpling made me crave Chinese take-out.

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This first novel in a new series is thoroughly entertaining with its fresh voice and well-constructed story. The diverse cast of characters may at first seem like a lot to keep track of, but Chien soon has them all feeling like family to readers. Their close-knit community within a community provides a wealth of original settings and potential suspects, and at the heart of it all is Lana Lee. As both the protagonist and the narrator, Lana adds a touch of snarky wit and the inside scoop on the faces and places of the Asia Village plaza. The murder mystery is skillfully plotted and keeps interest engaged throughout. Add in a well-meaning but overbearing mother who just wants Lana to find a husband, a handsome detective who may fit the bill, a trusty roommate and an adorable dog? You’ve got the recipe for a fun and delicious read!

first seen on RT Book Reviews, April 2018

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Not a lot of time is spent going over and dwelling on the issues of why Lana doesn't have a job or a boyfriend, but needless to say she was fired and threw out her cheating boyfriend. Now she is back working at her mother's restaurant, and when she takes an order to the owner of the mall/plaza building, and he is found dead later, she is thrown into the mystery. A great cozy mystery, with a fun and a little snarky heroine, and a hunky police detective of course. Highly recommend this book, only thing missing is some recipes.

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Lana Lee is a bit offbeat, but fun. She returns to her family's noodle restaurant to work and regroup after a job change. I liked that she and her friend Megan kind of knew they didn't know a lot about investigating and needed a book to help things along. There are great character descriptions and a meaty storyline that I really enjoyed.

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Loved the quirky characters and the entire story line. Finally a heroine in a cozy mystery that isn’t white! Very refreshing.

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Lana is a struggling Millennial, who is taking some time to regroup after a failed relationship and quitting her job. While working as a waitress in her parent's restaurant, a murder comes up and she can't resist trying to solve it.
With an equally nosy roommate/best friend and some possible love interests, this cozy mystery is perfect for readers who want to get lost in a good book. Part of a slated series.

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Well I gave it 2 chapters before DNFing it. I wanted to like (the cover is so cute) but it just isn't capturing my interest. ( I was given a copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

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I can’t believe I waited so long to read this fabulous new cozy mystery series! What a refreshing addition to the genre with a younger (late 20s) half English-half Taiwanese amateur sleuth, and her family’s Chinese restaurant as the backdrop.......it satisfyingly upturns the “older white lady in a bookstore/knitting store/tea shop” cozy mystery trope for sure. This is the first of the Noodle Shop books and it released in March 2018 - book 2 (THE DIM SUM OF ALL FEARS) releases in August and I already have the Kindle version pre-ordered!

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I was given a digital copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Back of 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 a return to the Cleveland area to help 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.”

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟(4/5)

Solvability: 🔎🔎🔎🔎(4/5)

My Opinion:

This book was wonderful. I really feel like I got to experience a slice of Lana's life. Everything tied together amazingly with each subplot linking to another. Lana's roommate is wonderful. This is a fun read and I'll happily read the next book in the series.

The back and forth on who the murderer is makes the story interesting,

The pace on this book is fast and allows the story to unfold quickly but with beautiful details.

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Lana Lee is back working at her family's restaurant, but when their property manager is found dead after eating dumplings from said family restaurant, Lana finds herself embroiled in a mystery that forces her to question what she thought she knew about the place she calls home.

Lana is a great, strong, funny, relatable protagonist and narrator. She stands up for herself, but also tries to meet her family halfway, and refuses to give up on solving a mystery that directly affects her. She's surrounded by a unique cast of characters who all matter in some way to the story-her best friend is especially great.

And the (budding) romance! I was rooting so hard for Lana and a certain character (who I won't name so as not to spoil anything) to get together. I need the next book now so I can see their relationship develop.

It's also a great mystery. I honestly did not see the reveal of the murderer coming.

Honestly, this is a cozy mystery it's hard to find fault with. I just really enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading it.

This is a great first entry in a really promising cozy mystery series. I definitely recommend it.

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I did not enjoy this book at all - there were too many characters to try and keep track of them all, there was so much unbelievable nonsense going on that most of the time I just rolled my eyes as I read [and I thought about quitting multiple times throughout the book] and a too tidy ending [though I was surprised at who the killer was] made this a very meh read for me. I will not be looking for the next one when it comes out.

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Set in Ohio, which took me completely by surprise but it is quirky much like our protagonist, Lana Lee. A free spirit who wants to be free of the family restaurant; but what is a heart broken girl to do when she is down on her luck and there are noodles to be served to cover her half of the rent. Of course it doesn't help when the head of Asia Village, where her parents restaurant is located; dies as a result of an allergic reaction to shellfish found in his Ho-Lee Noodle House take out order. An order that she delivered.....I did managed to figure out the who but not the why. Some characters are just too shady to not figure out. The story was very enjoyable and I do love a happy ending!

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I'm a sucker for a good food inspired cozy mystery. Death by Dumpling is the first in a new series by Vivien Chien. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this story as well as the building of characters and a community flush with culture and memorable characters. Lana is an interesting character that is on the brink of her journey to find her own way in life and love, despite the well intended meddling of her mother.

Overall, I thought the novel contained a well plotted mystery with a few unexpected turns plus built the narrative for future books.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Fun mystery, with a fun setting! I found the dialogue super stilted, though. But I would still read a sequel.

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Dollycas’s Thoughts

While not a fan of Chinese food, this cover caught my attention, plus it was the first book in a new series so I added to my Kindle immediately.

Lana Lee has grown up working in her mother’s restaurant but never expected to back working there now. Her mother is quite pleased because having her close means she can work on finding Lana a husband. That is the last thing on Lana’s mind.

The restaurant is part of the Asia Village. A plaza that is part of the original Chinatown area on the east side of Cleveland. It is managed by Mr. Feng, who orders lunch from the Ho-Lee Noodle House all the time. The staff knows his dietary restrictions by heart. So when the man is found dead in his office right after finishing his Ho-Lee dumplings everyone is in shock. The chef becomes the #1 suspect and Lana decides she needs to be the one to serve up the real killer. That is if they don’t kill her first.

Ms. Chien has cooked up a great start for this Noodle Mystery Series. A fresh new idea bringing the Asian culture to cozy readers.

The staff at Ho-Lee Noodle House are family. They have known and worked together for years. The same can be said of most of the store owners in the plaza. The author does an excellent job of introducing the cast and the connections to each other. She also introduces Lana’s roommate/friend, Megan Riley, Detective Trudeau and Lana’s dog Kikko. They are an eclectic cast of characters and very well developed for the first book in a series.

The book had a good pace, my finger was swiping the pages rapidly. Twists and turns, and drama that took us to some unexpected places. Lana was a determined sleuth, no matter how many times Detective Trudeau told her to leave the investigation to him. The author took us on a delightful journey to catch the killer with some hard to figure out clues.

I found the setting very interesting and enjoyed learning how the plaza had evolved over the years and how it was the heart of this community.

An entertaining cozy. Mystery, humor and just a bit of romance served up with noodles and dumplings on the side. Vivien Chien has brought a fresh voice to this genre and I am hungry for more. I have marked my calendar, Dim Sum of All Fears will be released August 28.

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This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. The story flowed very well and was very enjoyable. This book will keep you reading long into the night and you will not want to put this book down until you finish. This was such a great read and full of surprises. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader’s copy of this book. The free book held no determination on my personal review.

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