Author: Vivien Chien
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (2019)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
First Lines: "There I was, staring at my doom ... surely; this was a fate worse than death. 'I am in so much trouble. This is a complete and total nightmare!'"
Summary: Lana Lee has settled into managing her parents' Chinese restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodle House. A new shop has moved in next door, Shanghai Donuts. This could be a problem, because next to noodles, donuts are Lana's favorite thing to eat.
Asia Village is preparing to host the annual noodle contest. Peter Huang, the head chef at Ho-Lee Noodle House, has been preparing for weeks. He intends to win the contest.
"In the five years that the contest had been in existence, we had always placed in the top five, but never made first. This was going to be our year. I could feel it."
Peter wins the first round. During the break, the participants, judges and special guests gathered at Bamboo Lounge for some light refreshments. One of the judges, Norman Pan, a local food critic with a bad reputation, has had far too much to drink. He gestures to Lana to come talk to him. When she does, he gives her unwanted advice regarding her hair. Not wanting to be disrespectful, she says nothing and he dismisses her. Lana goes into another room and finds her friends. Within minutes a scream is heard. Mr. Pan was found with his face in a plate of noodles, dead. What happened? Was it murder?
My thoughts: I always enjoy time spent with Lana Lee and her friends and family. Her parents and sister have minor roles in this story. Her grandmother has now moved in with her parents and it was fun to see the dynamic she creates. Once again, Megan and Lana set about gathering clues. This time Lana was really going to stay out of it, but Megan assumes they will be investigating and talks Lana into asking questions. Megan pulls out her trusty notebook to record her thoughts. As is often the case, her snooping is not welcome.
Mr. Pan has more enemies than friends, so there are several suspects. There are red herrings along the way, but based on one minor clue, I was able to guess the culprit. That didn't take away my enjoyment of the story though, because it was more of a suspicion and there were plenty of twists and turns before the conclusion.
Lana continues to date Detective Trudeau, but their relationship is on rocky ground for much of this story. I continue to enjoy Lana's family and the regulars in this series. A few new characters were added that I hope to see more of in future books.