Cozy mysteries have become one of my comfort reads in the last couple months. One of my favorite series that I have been reading is the Noodle Shop Mystery Series by Vivien Chien. Chien was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up in a mixed-race home. She first started writing adventure stories in elementary school. Her love of writing and books only increased in the coming years. She attempted her first novel when she was 16. Now she is the author of the Noodle Shop Mystery series, which has seven published novels and an eighth scheduled to be published in January 2022.
All of the Noodle Shop Mystery series books can be found at one of the Davenport Public Libraries. A complete list of the books in this series can be found at the end of this blog post.
The first book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series is Death by Dumpling. Lana Lee never thought that she would end up back working at her family’s restuarant, Ho-Lee Noodle House. After a bad break-up and a dramatic walk-out from her last job, Lana’s life is in tatters. Not sure what to do, she decides to head back home and start waitressing at the restaurant as a way to begin putting her life back together. The downside: her mother. She wants to find Lana a husband and has been hinting towards various men around Asia Village that they would be perfect for her.
All thoughts of finding Lana a husband are put on the back burner after Asia Village’s property manager is found dead in his office. The restaurant is in the hot seat after it becomes known that an order of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee is found next to the body. Mr. Feng had a severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy that everyone in Asia Village knew about, so the discovery of the shrimp dumplings causes major concern. The whole restaurant is under suspicion and that of course causes the local media to descend upon the plaza searching for clues. Lana must find a way to clear the family and their employees, and restore the restaurant’s name.
Noodle Shop Mystery series
- Death By Dumpling (2018)
- Dim Sum of All Fears (2018)
- Murder Lo Mein (2019)
- Wonton Terror (2019)
- Egg Drop Dead (2020)
- Killer Kung Pao (2020)
- Fatal Fried Rice (2021)
- Hot and Sour Suspects (2022)
In November every year, I try to read as many mysteries as I can. This November, I decided to focus on cozy mysteries partly because Checked In: A Davenport Library Podcast, hosted by three DPL librarians, will be talking about cozy mysteries, amongst other things, in our November episode. (You should check it out to hear myself and two other librarians talk about all things library). Cozy mysteries are considered the gentle reads of the mystery genre. They generally avoid graphic violence, sexual content, and profanity, but feature instead unlikely detectives. Right up my alley!
On my quest to read more cozy mysteries, I discovered Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala. This book is the first in a brand new series called Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery. (The second title Homicide and Halo-Halo is set to come out in February 2022.)This culturally diverse title is full of sharp humor and delicious food. The author even includes a list of recipes at the end of the novel. The end of this book clearly sets you up for a sequel. You even get to read a snippet of the next book in the series.
Lila Macapagal has moved back home. This was not what she wanted to do, but after a nasty breakup and not having completed college, Lila doesn’t really have any other options. Now living back home with her grandmother and aunt, Lila must figure out ways to help save her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant. In addition to that huge task, Lila is also dealing with her big group of matchmaking aunties/godmothers who want her to settle down and be happy. They love her, but that love is tinged with judgment.
Lil’s ex-boyfriend also keeps popping up in her life too. He is a food critic that has been targeting all the local restaurants for the last couple years and is destroying businesses through his reviews. He has become increasingly nasty and has set his sights on Tita Rosie’s restaurant. While eating one day at the restaurant, he drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila. The aftermath of that has drastic consequences for the family. The local police treat Lila like she is their only suspect, their landlord wants to use the death as an excuse to kick the family out of the restaurant, and Lila’s best friend has started acting weird. Refusing to let her family be persecuted for something that they didn’t do, Lila decides to start investigating herself with the help of her family and friends. What she discovers is more complicated than she ever could have imagined.