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Egg Drop Dead

by Vivien Chien

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587377,444 (3.43)None
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… (more)
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Attracted by the steaming bowl of egg drop soup, I decided to buy this cosy mystery. I had not read the previous in this series. At tse beginning of the book, I was disappointed to find this is really there was very little emphasis on Chinese food.

The main character Lana Lee is ABC, Anerican born Chinese. Lana is not interesting in Chinese cooking but more in business and has developed an interest in detective work as a hobby.

To pick up business for her family restaurant, which Lana managers, she started a side line of catering. At a birthday party that her family has been charged with catering, the host is Donna Feng who was the person having the birthday. But at the party, a servant is found floating dead in the swimming pool. The police come and determine that the victim was killed before being in the pool. Donna seems to be the main suspect. Donna tells Lana directs Lana to a place where a small terra cotta soldier is located. Lana retrieves it and the hunt for the killer begins.

I thought it was a very well constructed mystery, with many surprises along the way. As the story progress, you feel like you need to keep reading to find out what happens next. There is humor and a little romance too. ( )
  Carolee888 | Jan 11, 2022 |
This is another series where I go in knowing what to expect and get exactly what I ordered. (Like a good restaurant, really.) I laughed, I gasped, I groaned at Lana’s more … Lana moments, I flipped pages, and I enjoyed myself the whole way through. The downside of such consistency is that some of the unpredictability that helps me really love a book disappears but whatcha gonna do? I asked for fun and fluff and I got it.

I really like that Chien’s still coming up with fresh mysteries that widen the “world” of Chinese-American Cleveland, that deepen the characters, that bring up aspects of Chinese culture that either get lost in other stories or treated more negatively. This one has a lot of stuff about Donna’s past in it, for instance, and I enjoyed seeing a side of her that wasn’t the elegant, reserved matron. I also like that the mysteries never hinge on the characters being Chinese.

And the mystery’s still strong too—some good red herrings, some great raised stakes, at least one “wait, what, no!” moment, and an exciting climax! Lana’s progressed in her sleuthing abilities and common sense, even if sometimes that’s still a bit lacking, and I’m still enjoying that Chien’s finding interesting ways to get Lana clues and bringing social media into the mix. And that Lana’s not constantly butting heads with her cop boyfriend anymore.

What I’m less enthused about is some of the one- or two-note bit characters, because I’d like to see them more fleshed out or at least less archetypal. I’m still not totally sure why her grandma’s there since she’s yet to really do much, and her mom’s complaints about Lana’s life choices are getting old. But it’s not like other cozies I’ve read haven’t had that problem too, so I’m going to keep hoping they’ll be fleshed out later, the way Donna was in this one.

But that’s not something I’m really grumpy about, just like I’m not grumpy that Chien writes a good, entertaining story and nothing more. After all, I tore through this in a matter of days and it was exactly the sort of fun I like when I don’t want to think about what I’m reading so much! As always, I’m interested in seeing where Chien takes Lana next, which characters are going to be in the spotlight, and whether that private eye returns….

To bear in mind: Genre-typical drama and violence, a couple entitled dudes, and some negative body talk. Also you might get hungry but that’s a standard warning for this series.
6.5/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Aug 4, 2020 |
Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chien is a 2020 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Fantastic! This series just keeps getting better!

Lana’s first catering job is for a fancy dinner party, hosted by Donna Feng. But things go horribly awry when Donna’s Nanny is found dead. Donna once again becomes a prime suspect, and is counting on Lana to solve the mystery, while somehow managing to keep her secrets from coming to light. Lana promises to help, but soon finds herself in way over her head …

If you have been following this series, you’ll remember Donna from the previous installment. She’s an intriguing character and I was happy to see her character return. I’m loving the way Lana is progressing with her sleuthing skills and how realistically she approaches this case, knowing she won’t be able to work this one all on her own.

While part of the charm of cozy mysteries is in touching base with the recurring characters, often times the mystery elements run in the background, and can be a little thin. That’s not the case with this series though. This mystery was very well plotted and almost had the tone of an old-fashioned crime drama. It was really good!

Chein creates a nice balance between the Lana’s sleuthing and her personal life, which complements the series’ fresh contemporary approach to the cozy genre.
Overall, I enjoyed this latest installment and am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. ( )
  gpangel | Jul 16, 2020 |
Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chen takes us to Fairview Park, Ohio in July. Lana Lee has added catering services to the Ho-Lee Noodle House and their first job is for the owner of Asia Village, Donna Feng. Lana and head chef, Peter Huang arrive to find the normally unflappable Donna extremely agitated and on edge. The party is in full swing when a scream comes from the patio. Lana rushes out to find the nanny dead in the pool. Donna entrusts a thumb drive with Lana that contains sensitive information. Donna wants Lana to don her sleuthing cap once again and locate the killer. Egg Drop Dead is the fifth A Noodle Shop Mystery. It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series (or if you missed a book or two along the way). I like that this series features a Chinese American community outside Cleveland, Ohio. It is unique for cozy mysteries. The author provided vivid descriptions that bring the scenes to life. Lana Lee is managing the family restaurant and putting her own stamp on the place. When Donna asks Lana to investigate the murder of her nanny, she is happy to dive into the case. Lana gets assistance from her roommate, Megan Riley (who is equally inquisitive). After a fire at Donna’s house, Lana gets her to agree to hire a PI. Lana tags along with the private investigator. There are various suspects and well-done clues. I enjoyed Donna’s backstory which was intriguing. I was delighted with the takedown scene and appreciated the epilogue. I would like to see Lana begin to mature. She can be impulsive and make poor decisions that puts her life in jeopardy (frequently). I am surprised that Lana’s boyfriend, Adam is still with her considering how much she lies to him. The author does need to stop repeating case details (we got it the first time). In addition to investigating the murder and managing the restaurant, Lana is dealing with a bothersome ex-boyfriend. Lana will need a stiff backbone to deal with this pesky old beau. Egg Drop Dead is a cute cozy mystery that will have you craving your favorite Chinese delicacy (Pepper Steak for me). Egg Drop Dead is an upbeat story where it is night night for the nanny, a troubling terracotta thumb drive, catering chaos, little lies, and a bothersome old beau. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Apr 13, 2020 |
I was hungry and I wanted Chinese food, but I was in pandemic social isolation, so the next best thing was this book. While not as tasty, it was fun candy for my brain, easy and sweet to read and satisfying. I enjoyed Lana having her own style with pink hair. Not what I’d typically expect from a Chinese restaurant manager. Her off and on-again romance with a police detective comes in handy. I’ll be looking for the other books in this series when I need a quick and fun book to read. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 12, 2020 |
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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

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