Death by Dumpling: how well do you know the people you see every day?

Death by Dumpling book review

What is this about?: Lana has quit her job and is now waitressing at her family’s restaurant, something she did not want to be back doing. And then, Mr Feng, the owner of the plaza in which the restaurant is located and Lana find herself kind of a suspect when all she did was deliver lunch…

What else is this about?: This first in the series introduces us to her family, and the charaqcetrs around them in the Asian Plaza.


Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

Lana has had enough drama in her life, mostly because it’s landed her back at her parent’s restaurant, waiting tables. Death by Dumpling does well in hinting at said drama, without giving too much away just yet, other than Lana is having a quarter-life-crisis of sorts and is trying to figure out who she is. It’s incredibly relatable.

It’s even relatable when she discovers she was probably the person who served Mr Feng the lunch that killed him through a severe allergic reaction. My Feng is one of the owners of the plaza in which the noodle house is located, as well as other shops that will probably sound familiar. There is a shopping centre down the road from me that is exactly like the Asian Plaza, andthat makes it all the easier to get lost in the story.

So, as one of the possible suspects, Lana and her roomie, Megan, decide to investigate what really happened. She also doesn’t quite believe that the noodle-house’s cook, Peter, was the one that deliberately cooked and packed Mr Feng’s shellfish lunch. He knows better.

Lana and Megan begin to investigate, uncovering the secrets of the people in the plaza, and their suspects. We also get to know Lana’s family — he father who probably still thinks of her as a little girl (she is the youngest after all), and her mother who seems to think finding a good man will help Lana get her life together, and is probably trying in the worst way possible to help her daughter get over the worst break-up ever. There’s also an over-achieving older sister, who is really just getting her shit together, though Lana probably can’t see it. Their’s is a relationship[ I would definitely like to see more of!

Of course, there’s a handsome detective, Adam, who she half irritates and scares when he relaises what she’s doing. But she continues, like how all good investigators do, armed with her trusty guidebook on how to become a detective.

The story reveals secrets and lies, and made me think of what so many immigrants must’ve done when they moved to new cities, or what their parents must’ve done. Sometimes, they are lucky to make decisions out of love, and other times they make decisions they have to  not because they want to.

This was an entertaining and warm story, filled with familiar characters I enjoyed thoroughly! Bring on the next!


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