I picked up this mystery series on a whim when it first came out. I had no idea what to expect but I was craving ramen noodles and when I saw the cover of the first book, I felt like I could enjoy ramen noodles without actually having to eat ramen noodles (spoiler, I still ate ramen).
What I found with this series was a refreshing colorful series with lots of fun and quirky characters. When I pick up a cozy to read, so many of them are set in small towns and are full of baking or cat owning characters. Does this series have that? Well yes—-and no. I mean Lana Lee works at a Chinese restaurant, so baking—check. And she owns a dog—so owns animal, check. And it’s set in Cleveland Ohio—not so small town, small town. Basically, this series manages to tick the cozy boxes while still being different and memorable.
I fell in love with Lana Lee and I get ridiculously excited when I see a new Noodle Shop Mystery coming out because I feel like Lana still fits the cozy mould but she also manages to stay young hip and relevant for the 30 something readers.
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. (summary from Goodreads)
For me, Lana Lee is one of the coolest heroines in the cozy genre! I absolutely love her (and all her vibrant hair colors, this time it’s pink!) and I feel like she is someone who I would be friends with and eat donuts with! She’s so funny, sassy, smart, and loyal. I always enjoy picking up these books because of Lana.
Besides Lana, the characters in the Asian Village as well as her family are just a hoot. I always love seeing what everyone is up to in each book. My favorite are the Mahjong Matrons, what a great little group of old ladies. In this book though, we get to explore a little bit more about Donna Feng. She’s been a reoccurring character in the series and often she is the one who I am most suspicious of. I really enjoyed digging into this mystery and exploring her life before she came to the Asian Village.
As with the other books in the series, there are plenty of red herrings and potential suspects with motives, which kept me on my toes and guessing until the big reveal. In this one I thought the motive and killer were well developed and interesting. I didn’t see it coming until the end!
This is the 5th book in the series and while I think it would read ok as a standalone, it would make a little more sense if the reader started from the beginning, but again not necessary. The books read quick and easy and are a nice way to pass an afternoon or two, especially with a box of noodles handy!
Book Info and Rating
WHERE TO BUY (AFFILIATE LINKS)