Howdy, howdy! Welcome to another last Wednesday of the month book review. This month, I decided to go with another quick and fun cozy mystery. It’s called Death by Dumpling, by Vivien Chien, and was released on March 27th. Yes, I got another Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from NetGalley, so I must thank them and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me access to the book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Speaking of, let’s get to it!
Death by Dumpling follows Lana Lee as she starts working at her parents’ noodle house, something she never wanted to do. She’s running away from a bad break up and the fact that she caused a scene while quitting her old job (this seems to be a common theme in many cozies). All the attention of the mall where their restaurant is located seems to be on her. At least until the property manager, Mr. Feng, winds up dead after eating shrimp dumplings from her parents’ restaurant. Throw in a couple of potential suitors, a bestie who will indulge Lana’s PI fantasies, and a lot of mystery, and this book is the perfect recipe for a cozy.
As usual, I went into this story not really knowing what to expect. And I was pleasantly surprised. The characters are relateable. Lana is sassy, outgoing, and definitely not the biggest snoop in this book. She didn’t find the body, which was a nice change of pace from other cozies I’ve read. She also had a decent reason to go snooping around. It wasn’t that she was nosy that made her try to figure things out, though she certainly is, she was trying to clear the name of the restaurant’s head chef/her friend. I found it to be a nice variation of the norm from other cozies I’m familiar with.
About the only complaint I had with this book was that I caught on to Mr. Feng’s big secret a little earlier than I think I was supposed to. It wouldn’t have bothered me, except when Lana finds concrete proof, she still tries to make stupid excuses for the people involved. I honestly think her mind would’ve gone exactly where it was supposed to go, instead of arguing with her bestie about it and trying to come up with an innocent excuse. I get that the woman involved is like an aunt to Lana, but all the signs were there. Why would she ignore them? That part dragged a little bit for me.
Otherwise, it was pretty easy to like this one. The writing was succinct, but still conveyed a lot of personality. Aside from dragging a little after I figured things out, the pacing swept me along. I’m a super slow reader, but it only took me a week to finish this one.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed Death by Dumpling. I’m definitely happy to see that book two, Dim Sum of All Fears, is due out in August. It’s going on my reading list!
Overall, I’d rate it 4 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for something quick and fun and you enjoy a saucy feel good mystery, it’s worth a look.