Thursday, March 22, 2018

Death by Dumpling

When Lana Lee rashly quits her job, she is forced to do something she hasn't wanted to do - work in her parents Chinese restaurant. The restaurant called Ho-Lee Noddle House is in the middle of a quaint Asian Village shopping center owned by Chinese entrepreneur Mr. Feng. In Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien, Lana finds job hunting to be difficult in the northeast Ohio so she bows to pressure from her mother a joins the restaurant team.

When Lana stops to deliver Mr. Feng's lunch to him at his office, she hears yelling from inside. Bursting out of the door is Kimmy Tran, whose parents own the China Cinema and Song Asian video and music shop in the complex. Kimmy rages that Mr. Feng is planning to raise the rents on the shops and this will hurt her parents' business. She huffs off muttering threats against Mr. Feng.

Lana delivers his usual meal making sure there is no seafood in the dumpling because Mr. Feng is very allergic to shellfish. Within hours Mr. Feng is dead from anaphylactic shock from shellfish. Lana is sure she had seen the EpiPen in his shirt pocket. What could have gone wrong?

Without warning, Pete, her parents chief, is arrested for the murder, Lana and her roommate Megan decide to "take the case." With her trusty detective notebook in hand, Lana decides to start interviewing suspects. At her condolence call to Mrs. Feng, she asks pointed questions about Pete and Mr. Feng's partner Ian Sung. What is to become of the little enclave?

But all is not what it seems in the lives of the Asian Village shop owners. As Lana digs deeper she finds some secrets don't stay hidden no matter how hard you try to bury them.

This is the first in a new series and I enjoyed it very much. Although Lana's family owns a Chinese restaurant, the author does not play on stereotypical  Chinese behavior which I thought was a good direction. She makes the Asian Village come alive and you can almost see the pagoda-style buildings. And I was craving Chinese food after reading it!

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