Review: Dim Sum of All Fears By Vivien Chien

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien, Noodle Shop Mystery #2. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, September 2018. 308 pages.

Even though this is only book 2, I can tell you it is already a favorite cozy mystery series for me. I absolutely love it! There are so many great things about this series. Charming characters, unique setting, clever plots and more.

This series is set in a large Asian Village indoor mall location. Not only is this a very different sort of location from most cozy mysteries, but it is also refreshing to see a cozy from an Asian-American point of view. Lana Lee and her family restaurant are the focal point, but through her we see all the other shop owners and their stores. Each time a store is mentioned, I want to take a time out from the story and go browse their selection of goodies for a few mins! I love the diversity of the characters as well. You have the older Asian store owners who originally lived somewhere in Asia, and then you get to see their children who were born and raised here who are your typical American kids. Often the old school verse new school thought process clashes between the generations. The setting and it’s inhabitants are a very colorful cast and it is always enjoyable to revisit this world.

Dim Sum of All Fears picks up just a couple of months after book 1, Death by Dumpling. Even if you didn’t read the first book, Dim Sum did a great job of recapping what happened in the first book, without bogging you down with details or giving too much away. You got the gist of what Lana went through and what all the main cast has been up to since. And if you have read the first book, book 2 did a great job of refreshing your memory without making you go through every single detail of book 1. The recap was brief and easy to follow for everyone.

It was a lot of fun following Lana through the mystery. The plot really kept me guessing on who was the murderer! I kept going back and forth between who I thought the killer was. I’ll admit it… I was completely duped by all the misdirection! This was another enjoyable outing for the Noodle Shop Mystery series.

Something else I really like about this series is that it has a very light touch with the romance angle. You get a little taste for it, but it doesn’t just consume the whole plot. Some cozies get a little too carried away with this part of the story, laying it on a little too thick. The Noodle Shop Mystery series (so far) gives us just a taste of romance.

Even though this series is still pretty new, I really enjoy it a lot. With a great cast of characters and a unique setting, I always look forward to the next book in the series. The plot had plenty of twists to keep me guessing on who did what. I was pretty happy with book 2.


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