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Murder Lo Mein

by Vivien Chien
St. Martin's Paperbacks, March 2019, $7.99

Lana Lee, the newly promoted manager of her family’s Taiwanese and Chinese restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodle House, is determined to win Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest for two reasons: one, their executive chef, Peter Huang, is the best in the noodle business and has a good chance of bringing home the coveted cash prize and the free advertising that comes with being Cleveland’s Top Noodle; and two, after the horrible double murder that occurred next door to the restaurant a few months ago, they could definitely use some good chi.

But good turns bad chi when one of the contest judges, restaurant enemy #1, food critic Norman Pan, is found murdered in his lo-mein. Of course Lana is and her BFF roommate and snoop-mate, Megan, are on the trail, despite a warning from her cop boyfriend, Adam Trudeau, to leave the detecting to the pros.

Vivian Chien dishes fans an entertaining third escapade for her Asian-American restaurateur and self-proclaimed aspiring Nancy Drew with a buffet of murders, suspects, and plenty of carrot-dangling red herrings that will effectively keep readers turning pages and scratching their heads trying to figure out whodunnit.

The site of the noodle contest, the Asia Village Mall complete with koi pond and all matter of Asian businesses, makes for a creative and ingenious crime scene. And readers also get some real Cleveland landmarks throughout this cozy series.

Lana is delightful, as is her humorous family, including the cutest Chinese grandma ever. Add in a bestie with nose for trouble plus budding romance and an adorable pup and it’s a four star win. Fans of the genre are in for a feast of fun. The novel stands well alone, but reading in order is still best.

Debbie Haupt
Teri Duerr
March 2019
St. Martin's Paperbacks