Egg Drop Dead

A Noodle Shop Mystery

Formats and Prices





This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 25, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In the fifth in Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop delectable mystery series, Egg Drop Dead, the Ho-Lee Noodle House takes its business to the next level–only to end up in hot water.

It was supposed to be a fancy, intimate dinner party by the pool. Instead, Lana Lee’s first-ever catering event turns into full-course madness when a domestic worker is found dead. Is the party’s host Donna Feng, the sweet-and-sour owner of the Asia Village shopping plaza where Ho-Lee is situated, somehow to blame? That’s what Lana–whose plate is already plenty full with running the restaurant, pleasing her often-disapproving mother, and fretting over her occasionally-serious boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau–must find out.

Before the police arrived at the crime scene, Donna had entrusted an odd piece of evidence to Lana: a thumb drive shaped like a terra-cotta soldier. Now it’s up to Lana to lead her own investigation, digitally and in real life, into a world of secrets involving Donna’s earlier life in China, whether the victim had a dark agenda, and if the killer is still out there. . .and plans to strike again.

“Endearing…will appeal to fans of Chris Cavender’s Pizza Lovers mysteries.”–Booklist



The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you for your personal use only. You may not make this e-book publicly available in any way. Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at:


Chapter 2


Chapter 3


Chapter 4


Chapter 5


Chapter 6


Chapter 7


Chapter 8


Chapter 9


Chapter 10


Chapter 11


Chapter 12


Chapter 13


Chapter 14


Chapter 15


Chapter 16


Chapter 17


Chapter 18


Chapter 19


Chapter 20


Chapter 21


Chapter 22


Chapter 23


Chapter 24


Chapter 25


Chapter 26


Chapter 27


Chapter 28


Chapter 29


Chapter 30


Chapter 31


Chapter 32


Chapter 33


Chapter 34


Egg Drop Dead


Read on for an excerpt from

Killer Kung Pao

The next Number One Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien

Available soon from St. Martin’s Paperbacks!

“Lana Lee, you’re the only person in this world that I know who actually “wants to dye their hair gray on purpose,” my sister, Anna May said, scrutinizing the hair photo I had been carrying around in my purse. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“First of all, it’s not just any gray,” I replied, grabbing the photo out of her hand. “It’s gunmetal gray. And second, of course, it’s a good idea. It’s gonna be my best hair yet.” I ran a hand through my pink peek-a-boo highlighted hair. The color was beginning to fade, and I was tired of keeping up with one of the weakest colors in the rainbow.

“I don’t know why you can’t just leave your hair alone. You’ve been on this bizarre hair-dying kick for a while now. Don’t you want to give it a rest before you damage your follicles any further?” Anna May, who was slightly older and much more reserved than me, tucked a lock of smooth, glossy black hair behind her ear, exposing a dainty pearl-drop earring. Her typical hair length was always just a little past her shoulders, except on the rare occasions when she broke out a curling iron.

Everything about her was classic. Her makeup was forever neutral and almost appeared nonexistent. Her nails were either cherry red or French manicured—never anything besides the traditional white tip. And her style of dress often reminded me of things you might find in Jackie O’s closet. But it worked for her, and begrudgingly I would agree that my sister was a beautiful woman.

However, I was the total opposite and refused to look anything like her. As previously mentioned, my hair is dyed random colors, lately more on the unnatural side. My nails are whatever color I feel fits my mood or the season, and my makeup … well, I own every color of eyeshadow that exists in the rainbow. As they say, variety is the spice of life.

I waved her concern away with the folded-up photo before stuffing it back into my purse. I wasn’t going to let her sensibilities rain on my parade. After all, it was my favorite time of day. Five P.M. on a Friday, and I was getting ready to leave work. My job? I’m the manager of my family’s Chinese restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodle House.

Was it my lifelong dream to end up working for my parents and to leave work smelling like sweet-and-sour sauce on a daily basis? No. But it was actually working out pretty well despite my original protests. Turns out that I like to be in charge of things. Even better, I’m good at it.

Anyways, like I said, it was the end of the work week, and after a long five days of managing the daily functions of the noodle shop and dealing with the public, I was thrilled for the weekend to begin. The next morning, I would be pampering myself at Asia Village’s salon, Asian Accents, and my stylist, Jasmine Ming, was equally excited to be dying my hair this stunning shade of gray.

You might be asking yourself, what’s Asia Village? Well, it’s an Asian shopping center located in the quaint suburb of Fairview Park, which—to give you some reference if you’re not familiar—is about twenty-five minutes away from downtown Cleveland. If it’s me driving though, I can make it in about seventeen. But don’t tell my boyfriend, he’s a cop.

The enclosed plaza has everything you could think of under one sky-lit roof. In one fell swoop, you can get your hair done, buy some books by your favorite authors, grocery shop, have dinner, update your cosmetic collection, enjoy a doughnut or three, and even sing some karaoke, if it tickled your fancy. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that you can also stock up on tea cakes, or find the perfect supplements and herbs to complement your new healthy lifestyle. After all, you might need something to counter all the doughy goodness you purchased from Shanghai Donuts.

Our family’s noodle shop has been at the plaza since before I was born, and I’d spent more time within these four walls than I’d care to admit.

Anna May had, in recent months, taken an internship at a prominent law firm in Cleveland, Andrews, Filbert, Childs and Associates, so her ability to help out at the restaurant had become extremely limited. But since our evening helper and resident teenage thorn in my side, Vanessa Wen, was currently out with the stomach flu, Anna May agreed to give up her Friday evening to help out. There’s nothing worse than a twelve-hour workday in my book.

“Seriously, Lana, how long are you going to maintain this lifestyle? You’re twenty-eight years old now, and before you know it, you’re going to be thirty and you don’t take care of yourself at all. Things don’t get easier as you age, trust me. You eat horribly, you don’t work out, and you’re not even trying to look like an adult.”

I swear that I tried to withhold my eye roll, but sometimes it just happens without me realizing it. This is what my sister is best at. Lecturing me. Even though she is a measly three years older than me, she acts like she’s about ten. And she has all this “worldly” wisdom to pass down to her incapable younger sister. Lucky me. “I don’t see what my hair has to do with any of this.”

“It’s a gateway, Lana. You’re not taking life seriously, and it’s showing in your hair.”

I gaped. “That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard in my life.”

“You refuse to grow up.” She folded her arms over her chest and lifted her chin. “I think this new rebellion says it all.”

“New rebellion?” I snorted. “Me dying my hair is not a rebellion. And I think I’m doing pretty well, considering. I mean, after all, I am running this restaurant. And doing a bang-up job, I might add.”

“Henry says—”

I held up a hand. “Henry says…? So, is your new love interest the reason why you’re giving me this lecture? Unbelievable!”

Anna May had recently started “casually dating” one of the partners at her fancy law firm, which I was pretty sure wasn’t the best idea, but did that stop her? Of course not. My sister often found justification in her own actions because she considered herself to be the most level-headed person on the planet.

She held her head even higher. “Henry says that personal presentation is everything. You are your own representative, Lana. Do you want people to view you as this immature young woman who constantly chooses to go against the grain of society?”

I started to dig into my purse for my car keys. She was just getting on top of her soap box, and I had plans to meet Adam for happy hour at the Zodiac, a local bar that my best friend and roommate, Megan Riley, bartended at. I didn’t want to give up any more of my personal time listening to this drivel.

Anna May had continued spouting at the mouth while I tuned her out. I heard something about how I would have never fit into the lifestyle I had previously hoped for myself. And maybe she was right. A year ago, I’d daydreamed of being a glamorous businesswoman with a corner office and enough high-powered suits to overflow a walk-in closet. But that fantasy had died the minute I walked out of my previous job. After all, you can only take your boss flinging papers in your face so many times before you have to say enough is enough.

“I’m going now,” I said, talking over her rant. “Adam is waiting for me at the Zodiac.”

“Oh, don’t even get me started on how you’re always wasting your time at that stupid bar.” Anna May uncrossed her arms and put her hands on her hips, mimicking our mother’s lecturing stance. “I hope you don’t have a drinking problem on top of everything else.”

I let out a deep groan and flung my purse over my shoulder. “Thanks for helping out tonight,” I said, unwilling to dignify her statement with a justification. “I’ll talk to you later. Call me if there’s an emergency.”

I started to walk out of the restaurant, dropping my usual shuffling steps and taking long strides that I normally reserved for high heels. I’d manage to keep my cool and not engage in a screaming match with my sister, as I’d been well known to do. And she said I wasn’t mature. Ha!

But my swagger was quickly ruined because just as I was about to exit the restaurant, Ian Sung, property manager of Asia Village, was walking in, and blocked my exit. Damn. So close to freedom.

“Lana.” Ian, who was impeccably dressed in a navy blue Italian suit and polished light brown dress shoes, gave me a once over. “Are you on your way out for the day? There’s something I wanted to discuss with you.”

“Can we walk and talk?” I asked him. “I’m running late for an appointment.”

Anna May snorted behind me.

Ian’s eyes shifted to my sister and he regarded her with a stiff smile.

He didn’t seem to like Anna May very much, but I had no idea why. I wish I could say the same for myself, but unfortunately Ian held a torch for a relationship between us that was never going to happen. It wasn’t that Ian’s a bad guy or anything, but there was something about him that I couldn’t quite put my finger on that rubbed me the wrong way. Despite my mother’s extreme interest in making him my boyfriend, I couldn’t view him in that light.

Ian nodded in agreement and held out his hand, signaling for me to lead the way.

I turned to glare at my sister one final time before leaving.

Once we were outside the restaurant, Ian cleared his throat, loosening the tie at his neck. “So, I was hoping to discuss the end-of-summer sidewalk sale with you. Of course, it will be a longer discussion than what we can have on the way to the plaza exit, so maybe we could get together on Monday morning to have a real conversation. Perhaps we could grab some coffee and breakfast at Shanghai Donuts?”

I watched him from the corner of my eye, as I kept making my way toward the exit. Clever move asking to meet up at one of my favorite Asia Village establishments. The only thing better he could have said was for me to meet him at the Modern Scroll, the plaza’s bookshop.

“I suppose I could ask Nancy to come in an hour early on Monday morning. I couldn’t meet you until ten A.M., though.” Nancy Huang was our only full-time waitress, and Peter’s mom. Peter was the head chef at our restaurant and fell into the guy best friend category.

“That will work out perfectly,” Ian replied. “I’ll see you then.”

“But why me?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, why me? Aren’t the particulars of the sidewalk sale something you should discuss with the entire board of directors for the plaza, and not just me?” Okay, I was part of that board, but still, I was only one member. Why did he always have to single me out?

“Lana, I think you know the answer to that.”

I cringed. I could guess, that’s for sure.

“You’re the only person on the entire committee that I trust implicitly. I know that you want to get things done just as much as I do, and I don’t have to worry when I know you’re involved with something.”

“Wait, involved?” I blanched. “What do you mean involved?”

“Well, we can discuss all of that at our meeting on Monday morning,” he said, suddenly in a rush to get out of our conversation. We had reached the main entrance and he stepped in front of me. “Allow me to get the door.”

As he opened the door with a big smile, we turned just in time to see a dark gray Nissan abruptly back out of one of the employee parking spots and slam into a brand-new, white Cadillac sedan. My body jerked as the two vehicles collided and the sounds of metal scraping against metal caused my teeth to clench.

Ian stepped out on to the sidewalk in front of me, and I followed quickly behind him.

“Hey, doesn’t that Nissan belong to June Yi?” I asked, pointing to the car.

He held a hand up to his head and massaged his temple with his thumb. “Ugh, of course it does.”



A zillion thank yous to my agent, Gail Fortune; my editors, Hannah Braaten and Nettie Finn; to Kayla Janas, Allison Ziegler and Mary Ann Asher. And to my publisher, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, I appreciate all of you so much.

My gratitude and respect to the Sisters in Crime, locally and nationally. Your existence has helped me and so many others seek out our passions and not feel alone while doing it.

Much love to my family and friends for the continuation of support and encouragement. I am lucky beyond words to have you guys in my life.

And to all my readers … many hugs. Thank you for going on this journey with me.

On Sale
Feb 25, 2020
Page Count
320 pages