Saturday, August 29, 2020

Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien

Killer Kung Pao: A Noodle Shop Mystery by [Vivien Chien]
Book Summary

Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien has Lana Lee on Friday evening heading out to enjoy time with her boyfriend and best friend.  In the parking lot of Asia Village, Lana witnesses June Yi of Yi’s Tea and Bakery pull out of her parking spot quickly and hit Millie Mao’s new white Cadillac.  Neither woman has a pleasant disposition, and this sets them off into a shouting match until the police separate them.  The next morning, Lana is at Asian Accents to get her hair died gunmetal gray.  As soon as she sees June enter the salon, Lana knows that she is not going to have the relaxing experience she was looking forward to this day.  Then Millie enters the salon and the two once again get into a shouting match.  The two women are divided, and Lana proceeds to get her hair bleached.  A little while later, the power goes out in the salon.  When the lights come back on, Millie Mao is found dead.  Lana has no intention of getting involved in this case until Shirley Yi, June’s twin sister, pays her a call.  June Yi is, of course, the police’s prime suspect.  Shirley is convinced her sister is innocent and wants Lana to find the real culprit.  
HAIR SALON, Hu Yongkai (male, 胡永凯; b1945, Beijing)
Lana Lee getting her hair done
My Thoughts

Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien is the 6th A Noodle Shop Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone if you are new to the series or have skipped a book.  Lana Lee is the manager of her family’s restaurant, Ho Lee Noodle House in Asia Village in Fairview Park, Ohio.  She is also on the board of directors for the village.  Lana is twenty-eight years old, shares an apartment with her best friend, and likes to frequently change her hair color.  She is dating Detective Adam Trudeau when their schedules allow.  Lana is looking forward to spending Friday evening with her roommate and boyfriend.   Before she can leave the restaurant, Ian Sung approaches her.  He wants Lana to coordinate the upcoming sidewalk sale for Asia Village.  Then Lana witnesses a fender bender between the toxic June Yi and rude Millie Mao.  Lana’s plan for Saturday morning is getting her hair colored at Asian Accents.  Unfortunately, Millie and June happen to have appointments scheduled at the same time.  Millie ends up dead and June is at the top of the suspect list.  Despite Lana’s intentions to stay out of this investigation, she gets roped in by June’s twin sister, Shirley.  The suspect list consists of people who were at the salon that morning which leads to some uncomfortable questioning since Lana knows them.  No one likes to be suspected of murder by someone they know, or watch grow up.  There are several viable suspects, good clues, and misdirection. I like how the crime was committed.  I found this whodunit a cinch to solve.  I thought the pacing was a little slow.  I had a hard time staying engaged which is a shame because I really enjoyed the last A Noodle Shop Mystery.  I like Lana Lee and the other characters in this series as well as Asia Village and the close-knit Asian community.  I just think the series needs a little more oomph to take it from okay to wow.  I like how Lana’s roommate knows when something is upsetting Lana by how many donuts she brings home.   All of us who stress eat can relate.  There is humor sprinkled throughout the story that will have you chuckling.  The food descriptions had me craving my favorite Chinese food plus glazed munchkins.  Killer Kung Pao is a charming cozy mystery with a desperate dye job, a fender bender, a sidewalk sale, delectable donuts, fiery foes, a scolding sister, and the Mahjong Matrons.
Lana Lee sporting her new hair color
Killer Kung Pao can be obtained from Amazon* along with the other novels in A Noodle Shop Mystery series.  The next book in A Noodle Shop Mystery series is Fatal Fried Rice which publishes March 9, 2021.  Thank you for reading my review.  Tomorrow I am featuring Kayaks, Kickbacks, and Kidnapping by Tonya Kappes.  It is the 12th A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery. I hope that you have a blissful day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
"Three Women Reading" by Uemura Shōen (1875 - 1949)
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