Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien has Lana Lee taking a Chinese cooking class at Barton’s Adult Learning Center. Her sister’s constant teasing about her lack of skills in this department forced Lana to secretly register for the class. After the first class, Lana drove away without the grocery list and returns to the classroom. She finds the instructor, Margo Han on the floor with a knife in her back. Detective Bishop of the Parma PD is assigned the case and he is suspicious of Lana. Knowing that Detective Bishop has her at the top of the suspect list, Lana with help from her roommate and best friend, Megan begins asking questions and assembling a list of suspects. Someone, though, is not happy with Lana’s snooping and sends her a warning. Lana will not be deterred and returns to the learning center to confront who she is certain is the guilty party. Can Lana get a confession, or will she be taking cooking lessons from the prison cook?
Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien is the 7th book in A Noodle Shop Mystery series. This story can be read as a standalone for those new to the series. Lana Lee is the manager of her families’ restaurant, Ho Lee Noodle House in a suburb outside Cleveland, Ohio. Lana cannot cook Chinese food as everyone knows, but her sister’s relentless teasing has her signing up for classes at the local adult learning center. Lana does not want anyone in her family to know nor Peter who cooks at the restaurant. Unfortunately, Lana’s instructor ends up murdered. Detective Bishop of the Parma Police Department immediately suspects Lana as well as the janitor who heard Lana scream and called 9-1-1. Fatal Fried Rice is easy to read with an interesting cast of characters. I especially like Lana’s mother. The death of the cooking instructor, Margo Han is a frustrating one for Lana. Margo is a private person which makes it hard for her to find helpful information. I like that Kimmy Tran gets in on the investigation. She is bolder than Megan and Lana. There suspect list is miniscule. I found the mystery to be extremely simple (a child could solve this one). I was not a fan of Detective Bishop who is a one-dimensional cliché cozy mystery detective (the nasty guy who has his mind made up). There is a lack of action that makes the pace of Fatal Fried Rice slow. There is an action-packed ending with a good wrap-up. Fatal Fried Rice takes us through Lana’s daily activities (going to work, walking Kikko, spending time with Adam and Megan, and eating fast food). I like the concept for this cozy mystery series, and it is unique. It feels that Lana is unhappy with her job and bored. Maybe it is time for Lana to discover what sort of work will make her happy. I did not enjoy Fatal Fried Rice as much as other books in the series. I felt it needed to be fleshed out with a more complex mystery. There needed to be more action as well which would have increased the pacing. I also did not appreciate the foul language which increased toward the end. I hope Hot and Sour Suspects will be more entertaining. Fatal Fried Rice is a lighthearted cozy mystery with a Chinese cooking class, a cute Kikko, firm friends, a distasteful detective, and a curious crime.
Fatal Fried Rice can be purchased from Amazon*. You can find the other six novels in A Noodle Shop Mystery series here. The next book in A Noodle Shop Mystery series is Hot and Sour Suspects which publishes August 24. Thank you for reading my review. Tomorrow I am featuring A Deadly Chapter by Essie Lang. It is the 3rd A Castle Bookshop Mystery. I do hope that you have a magical day. Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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