Thursday, November 12, 2020

Book Review: Wonton Terror (Noodle Shop Mystery #4) by Vivien Chien

Wonton Terror (A Noodle Shop Mystery, #4)Wonton Terror (Noodle Shop Mystery #4).  Vivien Chien.  St. Martin's Press (2019).  294 pages. Genre:  Cozy Mystery.

First Lines: "'The Poconos or Put-in-Bay?' I waved two travel brochures in front of my good friend and restaurant chef, Peter Huang."

Summary:  Lana Lee, manager of Ho-Lee Noodle House, and chef, Peter Huang, are setting up their booth at the first Asian Night Market of the summer.  This will be a great opportunity to introduce more people to the food served at Ho-Lee Noodle House.  The Market includes several other booths or food trucks selling various things.  One of the food trucks, Wonton on Wheels, is owned by Sandra and Ronnie Chow, friends of Lana's parents.  The families have drifted apart over the years, but Lana still remembers spending time at their house playing with their son Calvin.  

As Lana is preparing her booth for business, she notices Sandra and Ronnie arguing.  She can't tell what they are saying, but it looks pretty heated.  After Sandra has walked away, she notices Ronnie arguing with another man.  Lana decides to say "hello" to Sandra and see if she can discover what is going on.  Sandra is talking with another woman who was friends with her mother.  Lana doesn't remember Ruby, but after Sandra walks away, Ruby fills Lana in on what is going on between Ronnie and Sandra.  Apparently Ronnie always behaves like this.  Ruby doesn't understand how Sandra puts up with it.  Lana tucks this information away as she heads back to her booth to open up for the evening.

The first Asian Night Market is a success.  As Peter and Lana are closing up for the evening, Peter becomes away of a hissing sound and grabs Lana and throws her to the ground.  Before Lana even realizes what is happening, there is a large explosion.  As the dust clears and the authorities arrive, it is discovered that it was Wonton on Wheels that exploded and Ronnie was inside.  Well, it seems that Ronnie has made plenty of enemies, but are any of them capable of murder?

My thoughts:  I always enjoy spending time with Lana and her family at the Noodle Shop.  This time the action doesn't take place near the restaurant, which was a nice change.  Lana's Aunt Grace, sister of her mother, comes for a visit.  This adds some tension, as Lana's mother is anxious about her sister visiting.  They tend to argue a lot.  They have chosen completely different lifestyles and this puts them at odds.  The stress that this puts on the entire family causes Lana and her sister, Anna May, to examine their own relationship.  This added some depth to the story.  

Lana's roommate, Meagan, encourages Lana to do some investigating.  Since Lana has connections to the Chow family it is easy for her to ask questions.  Lana is still dating Detective Adam Trudeau, but he is not the detective on this case, so he has a much smaller part in this story.  

The mystery was challenging.  It seemed as if it were only Lana doing the investigating.  The detective in charge was introduced, but didn't appear in the story again.  That was a little odd.  However, Lana doesn't realize who the killer is until she has stumbled into a certain situation where there is no longer any doubt.  It wasn't a huge surprise.  

Overall, this was a nice addition to this series.  I especially enjoyed watching Lana grow in relationships with her family.  


  1. I haven't read any of the books in this series. Good review. 🙂