Do you like cozy mysteries with plucky heroines, great food, and even better title puns? Then look no further than the Noodle Shop Mystery series by Vivien Chien! The series stars Lana Lee, a twenty-something woman whose parents own Ho-Lee Noodle House, and who finds herself working in the restaurant after her personal life implodes! She’s drawn into mystery after mystery involving the restaurant scene and the community of shop owners and patrons at Asia Village, the shopping plaza in East Cleveland where the restaurant is located. If you’re wondering where to start with the books so you can read the Noodle Shop Mystery series in order, here’s your guide to murder, noodles, and one savvy amateur sleuth!
In this debut novel, Lana Lee's life has recently gone off the rails. She's broken up with her boyfriend and walked out on her job in a rare dramatic display. Now, the only thing keeping her from homelessness is working at her parents' restaurant in the Asia Village shopping plaza. When Lana delivers a lunch order to Mr. Feng, the owner of Asia Village, and he drops dead, her problems only increase. It turns out that the dumplings in the order were shrimp—and Mr. Feng was allergic to seafood. That's definitely not what he ordered, and everyone at Ho-Lee knew about his allergy. Not one to stand by and watch things unfold, Lana decides to look into why someone might have wanted Mr. Feng dead and how they switched the orders—especially if she wants to clear her family's name!
Lana is excited for a new job opportunity that will let her leave her family's restaurant behind...but then her parents decide to take a trip to Taiwan, and leave her in charge! It's not exactly what she wants, but Lana is surprised to find that she's actually pretty good at managing the business! But when the husband and wife owners of a new shop next to the Noodle House are found dead, it rattles the Asia Village community. The police suspect a classic case of murder-suicide, but when Lana catches wind of scandalous information about the husband's past, she begins to suspect that perhaps the couple was murdered, and the killer is still at large!
Much to Lana's surprise, she's now been made the permanent manager of Ho-Lee Noodle House, and she has big plans! She decides to enter the restaurant in a city-wide competition for the best noodles! Winning best noodles in Cleveland could really boost business, but when a food critic receives a threatening fortune cookie before falling dead later in the day, suddenly the stakes are high and the attention has swung back on Lana. Never one to back down from a murder mystery, Lana begins investigating, much to her detective boyfriend's dismay. But when she receives a threatening fortune, she knows that she is close to discovering the truth...and that the killer has her in sights!
Cleveland's Asian Night Market is the first sign that summer has truly arrived, and Lana can't wait for a successful night and the start of summer—she's even got a getaway with her boyfriend to look forward to. The night market is always good for business, but this year there are even more fun additions to the festivities: food trucks! But terror mars the night when Wonton on Wheels, owned by friends of Lana's parents, explodes and kills one of the proprietors. Ignoring protests from her boyfriend, Lana decides it's up to her to investigate, and the deeper she looks, the more obvious it becomes that this is not just a dreadful, tragic accident or a twisted scheme for insurance money—someone blew up that food truck on purpose. And Lana has just put herself right in the middle of it!
Lana Lee decides to branch out into catering, but her first off-site event at a dinner party held at Donna Feng's home goes horribly awry—a domestic worker is found dead. Lana is horrified, and naturally, she is pulled into the investigation when Donna entrusts a USB drive shaped like a terra cotta soldier to Lana moments before the police arrive. Lana has tangled with Donna in the past and knows not the underestimate the woman—but what does the drive contain? And why did she choose to give it to Lana? As Lana begins looking into the mystery, traversing between the digital world, the investigation unfolding in her life, and probing Donna's past life in China, she uncovers dark secrets that point to a killer who won't hesitate to strike again!
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Tirzah Price is a writer and contributing editor at Book Riot. She loves mysteries, good food, and books that include both of those things. Find her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.